This DVD offered me my first close experience with this German three piece band. Having heard some songs at casual listens in the past, I was not able to get a real idea of what these musicians were truly capable of, until I was able to see them in the quaint live setting provided on this DVD. The Jazz Pistols are aptly named, being that the musicians are all firmly rooted in jazz idioms, yet as younger artists, they have given an ear to many other influences, particularly modern fusion and rock influences. Operating as a trio of guitar, bass and drums, really keeps them honest and also reveals their depth as multi-faceted, dynamic players.
Christoph Victor Kaiser, the bands' bassist, shows perhaps some of the more unique talents of the band, he does two handed tapping on his 6 string bass, and also utilizes chord phrasings while tapping bass lines, giving the sense that they are employing a second guitarist, he seems to have been inspired by the likes of Jaco Pastorius, Alphonso Johnson and to a lesser effect, Percy Jones, while I am not certain of these influences, he has a style that fits well in the company of these groundbreaking players. Thomas Lui Ludwig - The groups drummer, provides the frenetic as well as the bombastic aspects of the band, he allows the music to dictate his playing style, which is always detailed and performed with many polyrhythmic changes, he is definitely a drummers' drummer, with a similar feel for playing a variety of modes with a certain flare that one would expect from the Weckl's, Colaiuta's and Gadd's of the drumming world.
On guitar, and what appears to be a guitar synth is the "voice" of the Jazz Pistols, Stefan Ivan Schäfer, who finds his niche between the mesmerizing rhythmic stylings of Ludwig, and the fluid structures of Kaisers' bass work. Schäfer is a true jazz guitarists, comping and phrasing in those familiar yet odd chord territories only known to the jazz players that are dedicated enough to discover them, he is also not the least bit shy to take on a harder edge, particularly when soloing. His style is a combination of some of my favorite players, if you were to take equal parts of Wayne Krantz, Pat Metheny, and perhaps some of Japans' Koichi Yabori (Fragile), that would be a fair assessment of how he plays.
As a unit, which is how this group performs, is pretty close in style to the Japanese sensations of jazz/fusion - Fragile, except the Jazz Pistols tend to reside more in jazz territories both compositionally and tonally. Yes they can be intense at times, and downright electric, in fact those are the golden moments for this writer, yet they really have a heart for the more improvisational groundings of jazz music, and many of the songs on this dvd/cd set are showcasing the bands pedigree as jazz musicians.
Pretty impressive showing of this band, the setting looks very casual and while a subdued crowd stands literally on stage with the musicians, they seem very intrigued and enthusiastic. The visual aspects are straight forward, understanding that this is a performance based video that sets to showcase the skills of these talented individuals, the sound is excellent, and really provides a studio sounding recording quality to compliment the video.