Fraktal’s debut album, ‘Polarisation of Light,’ has a scientific sound to it. It might lead to listeners thinking it is a jazz album that is sterile, heavy, and brainy. Its protagonists are fresh out of school and present what they have learned. However, the album is deliberately not appealing or accessible. Jan Herzog, a swiss-born bandleader, composer and arranger, presents his music in an authentic, lively, and stylish manner. His compositions are driven by the solid performances of his bandmates. They know how to get the most from their individual showcases but still manage to present a cohesive group. Herzog is never short of ideas for setting his musicians or telling a story. A large ensemble creates intimate and delicate instrumental settings that turn to waves of sound and groove. The simple and straightforward rhythmic and harmonic arrangements can transform into intricate, interwoven tapestries in sound design. The beautiful, clear voice of Andrea Nydegger and Christoph Mahnig’s calm trumpet are the highlights. Herzog is also a great guitarist with exceptional instrumental skills. His solo adventures are another example of his prolific melodic invention. Another great example of the Swiss Jazz Scene is Fraktal. “Polarisation of Light” shows a profound understanding of the potential of modern jazz.

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