Wütrio / BBE – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

The illustrious don of all things soulful and swinging, Rainer Trüby, brings his college of musical knowledge back to BBE for the first in a planned series of reissue albums. Rainer’s reaching back to 1987 on this one, and Wütrio, the first release on the Thein label from Bremen: unsurprisingly the album holds up very nicely in a leftfield jazzual manner – the years fall away and the musicians’ musings finally get a much larger audience – everyone’s a winner, right?

Hitchhiker’s Guide is the full-fire opener: theatrical, flavoursome jazz-rock business, stopping and starting at will, breakneck riffs and vocal licks expelled in a rush of steam, galloping towards some kind of cosmic nirvana. You can hear the impetuousness of youth, the full-on abandon of musicians locking horns and fixing to fly – it’s harum scarum stuff, teetering on the edge of chaos. It’s a helluva of an intro, for sure.

They can do downtempo too though: Impressions Of Autumn is all woody bass twang and ticklish horns, suspended in air as much as autumn itself is suspended between the lushness of summer and the darker days of winter. The players stopping to reflect on the passing of time: a lilting key solo at the four minute mark injecting soulfulness into the melancholy. Muted but insistent: music to watch the leaves drop from the trees. Time marches ever onwards, alas…

Rush Hour returns us to funkier pastures: Beate Kynast’s vocals, conversational, shades of Laurie Anderson perhaps, as the band locks in: jazz meets downtown NYC vibes given a Germanic twist-up. Skronking sax runs, drums with a devilish glint in the eye, Beate scatting and skitting away – a whole heap of fun, without doubt.

Way To Love shuffles along in a lovelorn manner: a late night blues for the dispossessed, an urban lament for the broken-hearted. Warm synth pads underpinning the sax, noir-esque visions of seedy assignations – imagine Betty Blue getting jiggy with John Lurie and you’re not far off.

Scarcely Had We Left The House switches tack again: brisk, full of life and wonder: walking bass-lines propelling the tune forward, ever forward. These guys have got somewhere to be, they’re not hanging around – the drummer’s rushing into his fills, the horns are let loose, an arpeggiated synth joins the fray for an extended vamp in the coda. It’s cool, assured music-making, confident and genre-hopping, jazz-not-jazz.

Hats off then to Rainer, and Pete, and the BBE crew, for some top-notch archival manouevres. Wütrio have been dug up, dug out and whisked around the fountain one last time – music saves the day once more. Doesn’t it always?

Wütrio will be reissued this Friday, November 11th, care of BBE. 

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