Sebastian Gille: Anthem

The German quartet led by saxophonist-composer Sebastian Gille strikes an interactive, conversational accord on this stirring, ECM-ish release. A forceful and daring player-you can hear touches of Michael Brecker and the icy cry of Jan Garbarek in his tenor playing-Gille covers the full range of his horn in passionate terms on the opener, “Blossom,” and on the introspective title track. Pianist Pablo Held dives headlong into Keith Jarrett territory on the tender and probing “Embrace,” which has Gille switching to soprano, and on the rubato “Charisma.” Gille and company deliver possibly the most mournful interpretation of Kurt Weill’s “Barbara Song” ever, in addition to turning in an absolutely sublime version of the standard ballad “You Won’t Forget Me.” Bassist Robert Landfermann and ultra-sensitive drummer Jonas Burgwinkel are both key to the telepathic four-way conversation that takes place throughout this superb debut.