German Jazz supergroup WEB WEB continue their collaboration with songwriter and producer Max Herre on their fifth album WEB MAX II, issued on Compost Records (Release Date: October 27th, 2023).

First joining forces with Herre for 2021 offering WEB MAX, on this new long player the band has achieved much more than just the pure continuation of a series. Roaming far from its Spiritual Jazz roots, WEB MAX II is, musically and emotionally, probably the most diverse distillation of what WEB WEB has created in its seven years of existence.

Whereas the first WEB MAX album, with its often modal, mantric themes and expressive solos, was heavily loaded by the spirit of the late 1960s musical pioneers, the new album plays completely detached from traditional genre boundaries.

“We don’t want to tread water. Our mantra this time was to let the inside guide us and freely explore and sound out the musical spectrum that fascinates Roberto (Di Gioia) and me when it comes to instrumental music and connected us for many years.”

says Max Herre

“With Max, I’m able to move through the most diverse styles like with no-one else and still always coming up with something original. He has the gift of transforming small musical sketches into a grand narrative. He’s a visionary, music with him always becomes more imperative, never arbitrary.”

And Di Gioia adds:

From the initial sketches that emerged over the past two years, eventually a musical cosmos has formed in which complex Jazz compositions, cinematic motifs and West African polyrhythms encounter a board of instruments that expand the framework of a classical Jazz quartet in ever new and surprising ways. In addition to instruments borrowed from classical music, such as bassoon or bass clarinet, sounds of the musical-technical revolution of the 1970s appear over and over again in the production, such as a Mellotron, the first sampler in music history operated with tapes (“6th Dimension”, “Ólobo”) or an original EMS Synthi Hi-Fly (“Look Beyond The Sun”). In this sense, WEB MAX II is more a producer’s album than its predecessor, without losing any of the group’s immediacy and emotionality.

Photo By Thomas Elsner

While the list of guest artists on WEB MAX was a line-up of international renown, with Ethio- Jazz legend Mulatu Astatke, Strata East founder Charles Tolliver, the exceptional New York harpist Brandee Younger and featuring a voice recording by Yusef Lateef, the focus this time is on the closer musical circle – with the exception of Los Angeles-born percussionist and producer Carlos Gabriel Niño, of course.

In addition to the core line-up of the group around Roberto (keys), Tony Lakatos (sax, flute), Christian von Kaphengst (bass) and Peter Gall (drums) playing on WEB MAX II, the featured artists are mainly musicians from Di Gioia‘s Munich environment: the vibraphonist Marja Burchard of the legendary Krautrock band Embryo (“The Source Of All Things”), flutist Marcio Tubino (“Perennial Journey”), bass clarinetist Johannes Enders (“Testimony”) and percussionist Biboul Darouiche (“The Source Of All Things”).

“While our idea on the last record was to move out of Munich, connecting with international icons of Spiritual and Ethio- Jazz, we wanted to switch the perspective this time and focus the view from the outer world to the music that has been going around the world out of Munich since the early 1970s.”

Max Herre says:

“Not least through my almost 20-year collaboration with Klaus Doldinger, I became aware of the immense influence that Progressive Jazz and Krautrock from Germany had on the development of instrumental music worldwide. Besides Passport, it was bands like Embryo, Amon Düül and Popol Vuh that established Munich’s reputation as a centre of progressive music internationally.”

Roberto adds:

With songwriter and rap poet Sèkou Neblett, whose spoken words in the first song “Perennial Journey” thematically set the tone for the album, and distinctive soul queen Joy Denalane (“Look Beyond The Sun”), WEB MAX II also reunites the founding members of the legendary German hip-hop group FREUNDESKREIS in a completely new context.

They all make WEB MAX II a feast not only for connoisseurs; an intercultural, genre-bending Jazz hybrid of special class that lives, breathes and draws us more and more into its undertow with it’s zen-like serenity.