Co Streiff Sextett
Loops, Holes, Angels. Intakt CD 119



Auf ihrem Zweitling führt die Band der Schweizer Saxofonistin ihre Klasse fort, führt ihre Themen eng, macht sie stark und erfindet sie gleichsam neu. Es gibt wohl keine andere Schweizer, ja europäische Band, die sich vor allem der afrikanischen Musiktradition so bewusst ist und sie derart lebendig und intelligent in ihrem Spiel reflektiert und einarbeitet. Co Streiffs Klang ist bester europäischer Jazz, gespielt mit der klaren Kenntnis um die anderen ethnischen Kontexte und Hintergründe, in denen Musik erst entstehen kann. Dieses Ensemble hat ein einzigartiges Gespür dafür entwickelt, und auch den Mut, falsche Geschichte und kulturelle Fassaden zu verlassen.
MADE MY DAY by HONKER Honker, TERZ 05.07


Swiss saxophonist Co Streiff and her sextet offer a virtual sightseeing tour of progressive jazz dipped in a variety of world-music including Middle Eastern modal structures. Barriers don’t exist here as the band take in avant-blues riffs, torrid improvisational maneuvers and much more. It’s an entertaining ride. On “Chtau,” Ben Jeger’s revved-up Farfisa keyboard sounds like a mini-Moog. Or is it an analogue synth? Whatever it is, on this track Jeger multitasks with his accordion, creating a North African/progressive jazz groove accentuated by Streiff’s rippling soprano saxophone solo. Overall, Streiff’s classy stylizations and fertile imagination yield bountiful dividends.
by Glenn Astarita,, June 2007


Christian Rentsch, Jazz'n'More, Mai 2007


Alex Dutilh, Jazzman, Paris, June 2007


Guido Fischer, Jazzthetik, Juni 2007


schu, Concerto, Wien, 6/7-07


Hans-Jürgen von Osterhausen, Jazzpodium, Stuttgart, Juni 2007


Rarely does an “avant-garde” jazz player address the challenges of West and South African structures with such a clear emphasis on groove. Swiss saxophonist Streiff’s background ranges from a stint in the circus to travels in Sahara, and she brings a focused eclecticism to this pulsating disc. Keyboardist Ben Jeger is, within a jazz context, a very imaginative keyboardist; his clavinet and farfisa playing are not traditional jazz keys by a long shot, ensuring that the groove is never far away. Streiff alternates between soprano and alto, sharing duties with Tommy Meier. The first piece, “Loops Holes and Angles,” starts off all Dolphy-like before moving into a lurching 3/4 swing, which recalls Mingus without the badass attitude. A cover of one of Frederic Galliano’s Malian divas, Nahawa Doumbia, percolates but doesn’t entirely reach the polyrhythmic lockstep of Malian folk, although its spirit is within this music. There are all kinds of moods on this disc, from the ’60s era Central European jazz of “Batak” to the noir freedom of “Die Brucke.” The highlight for me is “Chtau,” where Jeger channels early Fela to get to the best groove on this record.
David Dacks, Exclaim, Canada, July 2007


Randal McIrloy, Coda Magazine, Canada, July, August


Featuring Co Streiff - alto sax, soprano sax; Tommy Meier - tenor sax, bass clarinet, balafon; Russ Johnson - trumpet, flugelhorn; Ben Jeger - piano, farfisa, clavinet, accordion; Christian Weber - double bass and Fredi Flukiger drums, percussion, balafon. This is the third disc on Intakt featuring Swiss reeds great, bandleader and master-composer, Ms. Co Streiff and again she has put together an incredible and unique modern jazz sextet with some strong African influences. This appears to be an international sextet with just a couple of members that I am previously familiar with like the NY-based trumpet great Russ Johnson, Omnitone recording artist and once a member of The Other Quartet and bassist Christian Weber who has worked with Day & Taxi and Momentum and has a couple of more recent discs out on Hatology. All but one of the pieces here was composed by Ms. Streiff or her fellow reedsman Tommy Meier. The title track opens with both saxes and trumpet weaving the lines around one another as piano, bass and drums swirl tightly below, eventually evolving into a more sparse freer section and them back to the sumptuous theme. "Laban Ko" was written by Malinese singer Nahawa Doumbia and features some superb balafon playing (African marimba) and a great, funky groove. I dig the spaced-out Sun Ra-like Farfisa on "Aka", as well as the hypnotic, laid back groove of "Batak" with some righteous harmonies for the horns. Russ Johnson's trumpet solo here is filled with beauty, creativity and quiet fire and is followed by an equally superb soprano sax solo by Ms. Streiff. There is an underlying dreamy quality that pervades this disc and is illustrated best on the mysterious, supremely melodic and somewhat Sun Ra-like "Le Matin Blanc". Mr. Meier, who composed this beaut, also plays a great swaggering tenor solo. "Chtau" begins with some cosmic Farfisa space organ and an ancient-to-the-future sort of African type of groove. The thing that stands our the most throughout this disc is the wonderful writing for the three horns and keyboards, thoughtful harmonies beneath each inspired solo. Bruce Lee, Mikey "IQ" Jones & Manny "Lunch" all give this gem a hefty thumbs up! -
BLG, Down Town Music Gallery, New York, March 2007


Streiff on a duet recording she did with pianist Irene Schweizer. It was a fine recording where the two were well-matched and Streiff composed most of the material. Streiff’s first release with her sextet, 2003’s Qattara, was an intriguing blend of pieces by Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman with originals inspired by North African rhythms and melodies. It was quite a unique brew. Loops, Holes And Angels continues on that path yet is clearly the band having progressed three years on. The African element is still clearly a part of Steiff’s music. The most overt example is the one cover on the disc, a version of “Labon Ko” by Malian singer Nahawa Doumbia. It’s a nice arrangement with a rhythmic base of two balafons laying down a clattering percussive ostinato and the horns essaying the piquant line above. “Aka” and “Batak” by saxophonist Meier follow and maintain the ethnic brew. “Batak” is redolent of gamelan music with its clanging percussion. But the Jazz element is equally strong in this music. “Le Matin Blanc” is a cousin to Archie Shepp’s “Le Matin Des Noirs” (it’s on New Thing At Newport) with its loping gait and striking theme played by muted horns. Streiff’s “Chtau” is a playful theme whose rhythm is influenced by Balkan metric weirdness. Every piece here has something a little different to offer. Streiff’s sextet has remained stable over the past three years. Of the current lineup only American trumpet player Russ Johnson is new. She has assembled a crack ensemble. Tommy Meier has a gruff, appealing sound on tenor and it works nicely with Streiff’s sleek and vibrant alto and soprano. Johnson’s trumpet rounds out the front line with powerful playing. I initially found Ben Jeger’s electric keyboards a bit intrusive but repeated listenings have given them a crucial place in the arrangements. The rhythm section of Weber and Flukiger is comfortable whether driving ahead on a piece like “Kirui” or pounding out the staggered rhythms of “Chtau.” This is a remarkable record and hopefully Streiff will get more attention with this, her sextet’s second release. And let’s hope we don’t have to wait four more years for a follow-up.
Robert Iannapollo, Cadence Magazine, September 2007


Brian Morton, The Wire, August 2007


On ne pourra reprocher à Co Streiff son manque d'ouverture, son désir d'arpenter large (blues, jazz, klezmer, tendances africaines, improvisation). Ici, Co Streiff sait mettre en valeur ses propres compositions et celles du saxophoniste Tommy Meier à travers des arrangements inspirés, rigoureux. Soit un art de la justesse et de la précision qui ne fait aucun doute.

Se démarquent ici des interventions solistes passionnantes (le magnifique crescendo du trompettiste Russ Johnson dans Batak), un amour sincère du free jazz (Le matin blanc, hommage même pas voilé au grand Archie) et un éloge constant à la liberté d'exister et de créer à sa guise (Kirui et ses brusques dérives, ses excès découpants).

Il y a malheureusement trop peu de la Co Streiff instrumentiste ici. Trop peu de cette magnifique altiste aux vrilles coupantes. Trop peu de ses géométries saillantes qui éclairaient le très beau Twin lines ( Intakt 073) en duo avec Irène Schweizer. Il n'est sans doute pas trop tard pour (re) découvrir ce disque magnifique.
Luc Bouquet, Improjazz, France, September 2007


Chris Searle, Morning Star, May 31 2012, Great Britain



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