The music herein is exciting and dramatic and, at times, excellent.

Jazzline D77117

Jakob Bänsch (Trumpet, flugelhorn); Niklas Roever (Piano); Jakob Obleser (bass); Leo Asal (Drums); Alma Naidu (vocalese); Simon Bräumer (Percussion); Sofia Martin Rodriguez (cello); Pauline Buss (vola)

The debut album from young trumpeter Jakob Bänsch is bright, expansive, mature, and forward-looking music. Bänsch has long studied jazz and won numerous awards, including second place in the Munich Jazz Prize and the First Federal Prize at the Jugend Musiziert. His education and talent fueled by that education are present in every track.

Across the Opening, Bänsch and his band paint musical pictures, and the keys are in the titles of their songs, each song coalescing to match the mood of the album’s title. On listening, one can picture the elements of movement Bänsch and his band try to illustrate in those pictures.

It’s tempting to look at the song titles as program music, but they aren’t that overt. Each song title is more of an onomatopoeic description of their sounds rather than any explicit musical picture painting. Additionally, they draw from jazz, symphonic music, and even s

Opening begins with a clean opening line against ostinato and rhythmic piano. After that soft opening, Bänsch’s trumpet becomes more expressive as the song progresses and the band fills the space between trumpet and piano. The music sounds like opening a door for what is to come.

Portida (Spanish for Departure) flows with sustained notes from Bänsch trumpet in a playful melody. His tone initial phrasing sound like Chris Botti but Bänsch’s notes against the slight Bossa Nova rhythm of the band make the song sound like a small party.

The music flows and jumps the deeper it gets. The whole band is supple in its support and allows Bänsch’s trumpet to go where it needs to go. Rover’s piano and Asal’s drums add more shine to this song.

Yearning’s head is just that — yearning — his trumpet makes the case, and the piano plays under and adds somberness. Fellow Jazzline artist Alma Naidu’s vocalese is lovely and grows more haunting as it moves to close the piece.

The addition of strings makes the emotional content of the song more poignant. Every instrument works to support this, and the piano’s undercurrent of arpeggiated chords sounds at times like a pop ballad and contributes to the overall arching ache of the song.

Yearning is reprised briefly in Variation 11, where trumpet and piano echo the first variation’s mood and melody, but more subtle still and perhaps less dramatic. Variation III echos Version 1 with a more forceful and less melancholy trio of trumpet, piano, and trumpet marching toward whatever source will still their collective yearning. Niklas Roever’s driving piano’s chord pattern is compelling.

Repression opens with cymbals and trumpets calling to the other instruments in the band. After the opening, the Bänsch trumpet repeats its opening call, and the rest of the band thunders in support and takes off in a brisk post-bop jaunt.

Here Bänsch’s trumpet explores the song’s melodic possibilities as the band swells and recedes behind him. The bass and drums accelerate at the halfway point, and it’s thrilling to listen to. Bass and solo have a paired solo at the end that’s unexpected, just exciting to hear. Every peak in this song delivers the listener across the valleys that follow.

Under Stars is quiet and understated, with a sweet melody underscored by lovely strings; its phrasing is sustained and atmospheric and gently pulls the listener along like a soft evening wind. Bänsch plays his trumpet with an irresistible melodicism.

Kiss and Run is a playful song, with the bass playing counterpoint to trumpet and rolling piano. Even with the bounciness of this number, Bänsch returns to his sustained notes and over-the-top decorations that highlight both his playing and the explorations of the other musicians in the band.

The song’s rhythm grooves unfailingly. Rover’s piano solo is at once familiar and new. Bass and drums provide a solid and soul-tinged rhythm section.

Exosphere is joyous and energetic as it vacillates between fast and slow atmospheric movements. Exosphere sounds like so many of the elements in the other songs on this album have been collected here in an exuberant trip into jazz orbit and is a fitting crescendo for the album.

Farewell ends the album the same it began, beautiful and stately, as it takes a recognition of all the music that’s happened over the course of this vibrant album.

This may be Bänsch and Co.’s first album, and it is an expressive and impressive opening statement, pun intended. The music herein is exciting and dramatic and, at times, excellent. It is exciting to hear a young artist with so much promise and exciting to listen to what Bänsch and his band accomplish next.