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November 2005

Hipnosis
Carrousel
Perfect Toy

This German quintet draws clear inspiration from the hepcat sound of late-'50s and early-'60s postbop, as the influence of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Lee Morgan, Dexter Gordon and Ahmad Jamal's bands of this period are baldly evident. If Hipnosis was content to perform covers of their heroes' material, they'd still be a worthy combo; the playing is tight, particularly Wanja Slavin on sax and Gerhard Gschlossl on trombone. What sets Hipnosis apart as a must-hear band is the quality of their original compositions; the music on Carrousel doesn't just mimic the old standards, it sets new ones.

Of particular interest are the two vocalese tracks with guest singer Merit Ostermann; on the eponymous title track and "Spring Seems to Be a Little Colder," Ostermann and the band convincingly evoke the highs of Annie Ross or Abbey Lincoln. Hipnosis' brand of back-to-the-future jazz is convincing and fresh; here's hoping Carrousel is just the beginning of the carnival for this promising new collective.

Originally published in November 2005
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