Avid esoteric sleeve reading anoraks might well have come across the name of Berlin based keyboardist Matti Klein. You see Herr Klein is the MD for Brazilian favourite Ed Motta and for some time he fronted the jazz outfit, Mo’ Blow. Now he’s stepping out on his own – though not quite. As the title of his first “solo” set implies this 11 tracker is very much a trio affair – Klein on keys, Mo’ Blow colleague Andre Seidel on drums and Lars Zander on sax and bass clarinet and between them they deliver a varied and intriguing musical menu.
Click on the album’s opening track, ‘Kill It With A Pill’ and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d stumbled across an old Impulse soul/jazz gem. Here Klein’s Hammond trades simple yet tough figures with Zander’s sax while drummer Seidel keeps things rock solid. The mood then changes to something a little “more Bob James” as the leader takes to the Rhodes on ‘Fairly Odd Stories’ and ‘Seraya Blues’ while the trio grind out funk on ‘Gringo Funk'( obvious yes) and ‘Home Is Where The Beat Is’. The mood is almost Ibizan chill on the laid back ‘Take Heart Catch Life’ and ‘Windy Move’. Different again is ‘Tastes Like Chocolate, Strawberry’ which recalls Isaac Hayes’ love themes from ‘Shaft’ or indeed any romantic Blaxploitation moment. This one clocks in at over 7 minutes but, time wise it’s surpassed by the eight minute plus ‘River Journey’ – a travelogue, we’re told, of a canoe trip on the Jongunjoki river in Eastern Finland. So yes – ‘Soul Trio’ – “varied and intriguing”. Not too many albums take you from 60s smoky New York jazz clubs to the tundra of Finland in less than an hour!