june 2011 |  jazzpodium   |   alexander schmitz

Elias Meister
Illumi's Journey

Konnex KCD 5262

He is from Munich, 27 years of age, Berklee alumni and in New York since 2007. A very ambitious young man, who can be found in lots of places in the Internet, but – for the time being – doesn’t have the recognition he deserves. This is his debut and despite coming from Berklee he doesn’t fit the image of the hundreds of Metheny or Scofield clones that belong to Boston. And if you don’t mind that Rita Maria is present as a one-woman vocal group functioning as a solo instrument or as an accompanist, you will listen to a newcomer who demands attention. His playing, his group, his jazz possess character, good style and energy. His sound is more reminiscent of Volker Kriegel than Berklee. The singer doesn’t have the desired effect though: She adds little to the convincing work of the instrumentalist. She would need an intimate, acoustic environment to blossom. Concerning the instrumentalist this does not mean a lack of sensibility. Daniel Ori, b, and Ziv Ravitz, dr, are the ideal rhythm section. Gordon Au’s role as a background cornetist is not very clear. A trio formation would have been ideal for this debut, especially for this promising player. Elias moves mostly linear through his three-part suite “Illlumi’s Journey”. The first and last parts are based on a big, almost liturgical motive, which Rita is ideal for. The middle part is fast and the energetic center of the album. It is a pity that Elias only plays an accompanying role (even though prominent) in 'Direction of Motion' with his nylon guitar. A first conclusion: An original new voice in the choir of the generation of new jazz guitarists; intelligent without being intellectually cold, powerful and sensitive. Quite a lot for the beginning.





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