Sea of Tranquility – Review of Fields of Pannonia by Jon Neudorf (August, 2015)

Christian Artmann is a New York based flautist and has started to make waves in the jazz scene the last few years. His first album as a band leader, Uneasy Dreams, was released in 2011. His new album Fields of Pannonia is now available on Sunnyside Records.

The quartet features the aforementioned Artmann (flute, alto flute), Gregg Kallor (piano), Johannes Weidenmueller (bass) and Jeff Hirshfield (drums). The music on Fields of Pannonia is mostly softly played but don’t let that fool you as even in their quietest moments there is much to take in. These are superb players exhibiting exhilarating chops and a tremendous attention to detail and dynamics. Songs like the gentle and breezy title track with its adventurous flute lines and outstanding bass solo and the bopping “Fum-Fo-Fi”, featuring a swinging rhythm section and excellent flute and piano, demonstrate stellar musicianship and interesting song dynamics. The tranquil “Sarabande” has a peaceful easy vibe as the flute sets a dreamlike atmosphere whereas “Garuda’s Song” showcases fine piano playing and more outstanding flute trills. The percussion based “Atacama” has a more minimalistic approach and is followed by the pastoral “August”, a pretty piece with softly hued flute, subtle drums, lovely piano work and another excellent bass solo from Weidenmueller. At times the music gets more chaotic with the improvised “Vortex” heading the list as Artmann’s flute takes some unexpected twists and turns. If you appreciate jazz leaning towards the mellower side of the spectrum, Fields of Pannonia should provide much to enjoy. As for me, this is another four star release.