Swiss drummer Charly Antolini has been a force in European mainstream jazz for over half a century, a super-technician often compared with Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson. Beginning his professional career playing in Paris with such New Orleans legends as Sidney Bechet and Albert Nicholas, he graduated to swing and bop, working with Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Jimmy Guiffre, and Art Farmer, among others. Antolini is best known for his own all-star ensembles.
In this 1980 outing Antolini has once again assembled an impressive ten-man mix of top-flight German and American players, with the inventive compositions written by members of the band. Pianist Dieter Reith’s Special Delivery sends the right message: a funky groove underpinning a sophisticated big band sound with a tinge of Mingus. Reith’s Mister C portrays a fast-paced swinging piece of jazz artistry, hip horn lines, and hot sax and drum solos. Written by trombonist Herman Breuer, Senor Hoche has a Latin tinge with a touch of Silver (Horace, that is) in this 6/8 blues. Electric bassist Wolfgang Schmidt’s The Pump pushes with a funky groove, tongue-twisting horn lines, and soulful horn, guitar, and electric piano solos. Antolini’s Drums Acapella is Charly’s masterclass. Viennese saxophonist Heinz von Herman’s Like a Swimming Pool is a refreshingly cool dive into the fusion world, with funky solos throughout; Herman’s Geh Heast Charly has Heinz on alto in a tribute to the bandleader, with Antolini doing what he does best: swing!