Album Reviews

Moonlit Questions (2007)

“When I heard ‘Webicht’ and ‘Luegid Vo Bergen Und Tal’ - tracks one on both discs in this two disc set - it was as though the spirit, feeling and soul [Emanuel] had absorbed surged out in a wave that had been gathering from far back in an ocean of listening. These tracks have some of the exotic soul of, say, Pharoah Sanders. This feeling is nectar for the musicians he has chosen... Emanuel is clearly an excellent guitarist...thoughtful and lyrically impassioned, and with a beautiful sound. On the trio tracks you will hear more contemporary swing and Latin feels, but these are heightened by Firth's polyrhythmic, interactive drumming. Schmidt's fluency is very pleasing here. The compositions are all good. Some are particularly interesting, with angles that give suggestive cues to the improvising soloists, who all rise to the occasion with invention, enthusiasm and spirit. This was a very nice surprise for me - a very worthy disc.”

- John Clare [Sydney Improvised Music Association / Sydney Morning Herald]

“Swiss jazz guitarist Emanuel Schmidt’s Moonlit Questions is exactly that – a series of questions posed to the listener as he guides us through the topics and stories that have impassioned him as a musician and a human being. Performing alongside standout tenor sax player Sandy Evans, Ashley Turner on bass and Tim Firth on drums, Moonlit Questions successfully avoids the stereotype of many jazz guitar recordings of being too introverted and guitar heavy. Through tracks like ‘The Incense of Kim Phuc’ and ‘Webicht’, Schmidt’s journey is often very political and intense, the range of emotions through his playing and cohesion with the band work perfectly... I highly recommend Emanuel Schmidt’s new album to fans of Kenny Burrell or the likes of Wes Montgomery, or anyone keen to hear a jazz quartet truly communicating through music.  Four Stars."  

- Matt Bailey  [Fine Music Magazine, December 2008]


“Just the way great jazz should be made, from the soul, expressing the feelings of the moment… Schmidt’s compositions give plenty of opportunity for his quartet members to express themselves… [and his] playing throughout is warm and assured without being flashy; Emanuel is highly intelligent… thankfully he chooses to express his humanity and creativity through music composition and guitar playing, both of which he does with considerable skill. [Moonlit Questions is] a fine debut CD.”  

- Phillip James [Jammin’ presenter. 89.7FM Eastside Radio, Sydney]