Ralf Gustke has already performed with Chaka Khan, Wolf
Maahn, Edo Zanki, Gianna Nannini, Georg Danzer, Nena,
Schiller, Daniel Wirtz, Söhne Mannheims and Xavier Naidoo,
for many of them also as a musical director. His credits are
in the liner notes of more than 150 CDs and DVDs. He has
played a key role in shaping the style of contemporary jazz,
especially in Germany.
Flying Days (2017) is his debut album. Ralf
performs on his album drums, congas & percussion, samples,
loops & beats. Additional musicians are Joo Kraus (trumpet
and flugelhorn), Jesse Milliner (synthesizers, Rhodes, and
piano), Claus Fischer (bass and guitar solo on
Little Things). Guest musician is Joerg Dudys on
Gustke introduces in his project with Indian Summer,
a piece of music in which he lives out his creative spectrum
as a drummer. The tune has various facets of contemporary
jazz with elements comparable to Pat Metheny's early period,
improvisations beyond the border to free jazz and quiet
Characteristic for this project are extended solos of all
participating musicians, that stand not on their own but
promote the overall context of the piece. To mention on
Two are Joo Kraus' ambient trumpet excursion, Jesse
Milliner's short synth jubilation and Claus Fischer's in
depth going bass line.
The organ and horn driven Flying Days is propelled
by Gustke's fast paced drum creation. Rainy Sunday
is accentuated by a punchy reggae rhythm with sunny string
underlined moments in between.
Joo Kraus influences the tune with his moody trumpet.
Apollo starts with a drum roll on snare and quickly
becomes something indescribably big that reflects the
diversity and creativity of the drummer Gustke while
Milliner is indulging in a synth staccato in style of
Alan Parson's Project.
There are many tour de force pieces on this album. Six
is Nine is no exception. While Gustke plays the soul
out here, Milliner excels like Joe Zawinul during his best
time. Guadaloop is a word creation of Guadeloupe
and loop and that way it comes over acoustically. The funky
Dangerous Times walks the tightrope between
contemporary jazz and artistic avant-garde.
With reduced pace All In One brings some reverie
into performance as far as it's possible in a jazzy heated
atmosphere. In all segments musicality and scintillating play
push the musicians into the virtuoso areas. With Little
Things the album receives a contemplative final point.
A slow melodic tune with a waltz swing.
Of course you will discover many influences of jazz history
on Flying Days. However, Ralf Gustke and his men
are sophisticated musicians and so they succeed in
overcoming traditional forms and styles. This album is
something previously unheard.