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Review by Scott Yanow: Tobias Meinhart - Pursuit of Happiness

10-07-2013

Tenor-saxophonist Tobias Meinhardt’s quartet on Pursuit Of Happiness performs fresh hard bop-based material with creativity.

Tobias Meinhardt began playing tenor-saxophone when he was 13 and a few years later caught the jazz bug when he was a roadie with the Bob Brookmeyer Orchestra during a tour of Portugal. He studied music in Switzerland, Amsterdam and New York and had opportunities to play with pianist Aaron Goldberg and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. In 2008, Meinhardt formed the quartet that is featured on Pursuit Of Happiness, his recording debut as a leader.
           
The quartet, which also includes pianist Lorenz Kellhuber, bassist Olivier Hein and drummer Gabriel Hahn, is a tight group in which the musicians react quickly to each other and think along similar musical lines. On Pursuit Of Happiness, they perform seven group originals (three by the saxophonist) plus Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge.” Meinhardt’s style draws from Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Joe Henderson (not a bad quartet!), updating the hard bop tradition.
          
The rhythm section is excellent, both in support of Meinhardt and as soloists, with Kellhuber sometimes hinting at McCoy Tyner. The originals, while an extension of the type of music heard on Blue Note in the 1960s, is fresh and lively.
           
Pursuit Of Happiness is a bit accessible, often explorative, and an excellent showcase for the four talented musicians on the Tobias Meinhardt Quartet.
 
Scott Yanow
 

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