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Music Review: Georg Breinschmid – Fire [with Bonus CD]

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Georg Breinschmid’s jazz CD, Fire is not like anything I have ever heard before. Fire is an appropriate name for the CD, as the music gathers up waltzes, polkas, bits of traditional melodies, and vocals into one huge musical conflagration that may leave you feeling a bit dazed and breathless.

Breinschmid is a classically trained double bassist who played for years with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna Art Orchestra. Wanting to branch out into jazz, he joined a group called Brien’s Cafe in 2010, whose members appear with him on this CD. He is extremely well-known in Europe, I hear, and I can understand why. This music is just a bit insane, but in a really good way. Some of the songs are live and some are studio recordings, which just adds to the wild atmosphere of it all.

The songs which have lyrics are in German, of course, but the booklet included provides the lyrics so that you know that these bouncy, happy, tunes, written and sung by Breinschmid and his Brien’s Cafe bandmate Thomas Gansch, actually are quite twisted.

“Herbert Schnitzler,” for instance, seems to be about a man who had a wild night out, and then wakes up and cannot remember what happened the night before. But it turns out, that’s not exactly what happened, after all.

“Jazz-Gstanzln” is the first-person narrative of a jazz musician who knows he is great but has to play a lot of stuff he doesn’t want to until he makes his money and finishes his studies. And, he’s also working as a waiter as well as in a supermarket.

“Die alte Engelmacherin” is a sentimental homage to an abortionist, while “Voodoo-Weinerlied” explains how a little voodoo in the evening can make it easy to make it through the slings and arrows of the day.

These are long pieces, and even if you don’t have the lyrics in front of you, they are fun to listen to, because Breinschmid and Gansch are obviously having so much fun.

The instrumental pieces here jump from the fiery, almost out of control polka that begins the CD to waltzes, sambas, avante-garde pieces, a couple of traditional Hungarian tunes, a sweet song for Breinschmid’s girlfriend (titled “Sweetie”), and a crazy operetta called, “Musette pour Elisabeth.”

Aside from the 14 songs on the CD, 12 of which are original, there is a bonus CD which offers two instrumentals, an alternate version of “Herbert Schnitzler,” and an outtake from the recording of “Die alte Engelmacherin.”

This CD is so unique that it is nearly impossible to describe, but I imagine if Mozart were writing jazz, this might be something like what he might do. You will just have to hear it, and you should definitely try Breinschmid’s Fire for yourself.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.
  • Rhetta’s review of this album is spot on! When I first heard Breinschmid’s music, I could immediately sense the joy, fun and exhilaration that the band has when performing it. The audience response after the live tracks confirms their excitement and pleasure from this music too.