Enj Society, Here and Now Review
by Ferell Aubre
Enj Society is a jazz quartet led by Daniel Nösig that focuses on exploring the tenor saxophone and trumpet without the “harmonic accompaniment” of piano or guitar. Instead, the sonic palette is condensed to trumpet, saxophone, double bass, and drums and offers a unique charm and open sound through its simplicity. Enj Society is Nösig, trumpet; Michael Erian, saxophone; Milan Nikolic, bass; and Howard Curtis, drums. The nine compositions on Here and Now are largely penned by Nösig and Erian and reflect the approach to improvised music of the two, who are united not only by their Carinthian origins but also by the years they spent studying together in Holland. Here and Now presents styles ranging from free improvisation to bop to folk-inspired pieces and rubato parts. The quartet ENJ looked backward in their first album, The One’s Before Us, with the current album dealing with the present, i.e., Here and Now.
“A New Beginning” opens the album with Nikolic and Howard providing support for Nösig and Erian to improvise freely until the head. The melody is spacious, even serene. Erian’s solo builds to a controlled ferocity as Nösig provides guide tone lines behind his solo. The openness of the music allows for the savoring of the individual parts. Nösig shows his virtuosities as the leader’s powerful trumpet lines arch across the steady groove of the bass and drums.
“August 28th” is an uptempo swing selection that shows how the quartet works together to generate a mighty musical expression. Erian’s embellishments of his lines are highlighted by Curtis’ deft accents and Nikolic’s steady bass pulse. Nösig’s flurries of notes are juxtaposed with lyrical shapes as he raises his energy to a musical rant. The written sections between Curtis’ solo phrases are excellent.
Here and Now is a fine second outing for Enj Society. Their varied textures, styles, and intensities are a mix of Western and European jazz. The ‘chordless’ quartet’s openness allows one to hear each part clearly and the interactions between the four performers. Here and Now is a poised and lovely album.