Jonas Engel & Own your Bones: Staring is Caring
Jonas Engel: alto sax
Karlis Auzins: tenor sax
David Helm: bass
Dominik Mahnig: drums
You can break it down to a very simple formula that sounds like a platitude but is nevertheless profoundly true. Jonas Engel embodies the good in jazz with his quartet's second CD. His songs breathe and pulse, they take surprising changes of direction, but always find the right tone and betray empathy for the listener. Above all, their rigorous optimism is a reliable companion in a time when no one wants to feel abandoned.
The audible symbiotic cohesion within the band is based on the simple fact that Engel, Helm and Mahnig lived together in a shared flat in Cologne. The three musicians succeed in bringing their experiences, which they were allowed to gather together in the everyday life of the shared apartment, into their music. Engel, on the other hand, has known Karlis Auzins from Latvia since his studies in Copenhagen, but it was only through the band that they became friends.
All four players also show vocal and especially narrative qualities on their instruments. Together they sound like a choir. This goes so far at performances, Engel describes playing together, that the two band members who don't have an instrument in their mouths spontaneously start singing along with the melodies. This interplay results in very different options. In the opener, as described, the melody is quite unchallenged in the center, in songs like "Omaria" or "Gaze In Grace" it is much more about moods. Jonas Engel takes us to places or situations, which he vividly brings before our eyes. The seeing ear becomes the co-creator and ultimately the finisher of his pieces.