Matthias Bublath – Eight Cylinder Big Band

Enja Records

15. Juni 2020
Matthias Bublath
Enja Records
Producer: Matthias Bublath
Number of discs: 1
Matthias Bublath Fires Up Eight Cylinder Big Band


Matthias Bublath’s Eight Cylinder Big Band is a jazz & funk roller coaster and a helluva lot of fun. Although new to me, the 41-year-old pianist, organist, and composer has cut several albums, but never one of this magnitude, with a 17-piece band, most of which are horns. And I love them horns making this one of my favorite albums of 2020. In addition to the piano and keyboard, Matthias is a specialist on the Hammond B3 organ, able to play bass lines with the left hand and pedals simultaneously, and that shines throughout this album.

Matthias has performed at various festivals and events worldwide, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, Kora Awards (Johannesburg, South Africa), and the Kennedy Center, and toured all over Japan. He got some of his educational training at Berklee and then established his chops as a freelance musician in New York City for over seven years. The genres on this album cruise from big band jazz, blues, funk, and gospel to Latin American rhythms. Takuya Kuroda, a long-time collaborator plays trumpet on three tunes including Matight Intro, Eight Cylinder, and Gospel Song.

Matthias talks about his reasons for doing this album here:
“Leading my own big band was always my dream. I’ve composed a lot of music but never that much for a large ensemble before this album. Being an organ player I always thought very orchestrally and I consider the Hammond B3 organ as an orchestra by itself. Now I wanted to combine its sound with a 17-piece big band to have kind of two big bands at once, which is a huge sound. I wanted to incorporate my longtime working band into the project. We’ve been playing for almost 10 years together now with Patrick Scales (bass), Christian Lettner (drums), and Ferdinand Kirner (guitar). We’ve made quite a few albums together over the years in various settings and it’s a really tight rhythm section. Many of the songs are written for the individual players and the horn arrangements are tailored around the rhythm section.

Yes, I guess it was more important to me to express myself through the compositions and arrangements on this album. But I think often the keyboard parts are crucial for the tunes: In Mr. Scales for example the saxes take over the organ part in the beginning, or in Return to the Source the whole song is based on the Latin piano pattern changing between major and minor. Eight Cylinder is based on a funky left-hand piano pattern. But you’re right, since I also conduct the band from the organ our live gigs, there are actually at times no keyboard parts at all when there’s a lot of written horn stuff.”

… 10. Mr. Scales: Here’s another funky big band horn section with a piano interplay introduction that grabs attention right away. The next interplay between high and low brass is a great section. Ferdinand Kirner takes another bluesy guitar solo halfway through followed by some strong low-end horns. The bridge features the first bass solo on the album and sounds a bit like a Marcus Miller with some groovin’ organ in the background and horn punctuation. The closeout is slick with some heavy organ and horns…


Matthias Bublath – Hammond B3 Organ, Keys, Piano, Rhodes
Ferdinad Kirner – Guitar
Patrick Scales – Bass
Christian Lettner – Drums

Special Guest: Takuya Kuroda – Trumpet

Trumpets: Niemanja Jovanovic, Florian Jechlinger, Reinhard Greiner, Andreas Unterrainer
Saxophones: Ulrich Wangenheim, Florian Riedel, Axel Kühn, Moritz Stal, Gregor Bürger
Trombones: Jürgen Neudert, Hans Bettinger, Erwin Gregg, Jakob Grimm

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