With a distinct affection for the sound of the seventies Thomas Braun (dr, perc) and Till Maragnoli (b) revitalise jazz, afro beat, brazil, funk and soul by using elaborated arrangements and detailed rhythmical work.. Supported by legends such as Andy Bey, Airto Moreira & Flora Purim, Doug Carn – to name a few. With Intuit a studio in the Southern German town Freiburg becomes a window to the world.
Braun and Maragnoli start off playing in different bands ranging from rock and reggae to afro and jazz. Whereas Maragnoli taught himself to play bass (Louis Johnson being one of his role models), Braun studied composition and arrangement at Musikakademie Basel, followed by a scholarship at the Drummers Collective, NY. He also gained insight in studio production there. The two met in the early nineties when Braun produced a reggae band Maragnoli was a member of.
Both soon discover they have lots of stuff in common especially as for their music taste, i.e. the aesthetic sense of the seventies’ sound as well as Latin and Afro rhythms. “The basic structure of what we do is jazz”, states Maragnoli, “ spiced up by all genres we like from brazil to funk. At the same time we don’t feel any obligation to be trendy.” “Our intention is to deliver a sound that seems to come freshly out of the studio, although we sometimes fiddle about with one bar over months”, says Braun.
After setting up their own studio in Freiburg in 199, “Two is a crowd” becomes the motto of Supersempft, the project name of the duo back then. Painstakingly they compose thoughtful rhythm sections and melodic as well as harmonic structures, including horns and string arrangements, already cut out for certain guest players and singers.
The funky feeling is delivered by the German-French Sonando Horns who feel equally at ease in a batucada setting as well as in afro beat. The part of the string quartet is realized by members of the SWR (Südwestrundfunk) symphony orchestra. Cécile Verny, one of the leading European jazz divas, who was just awarded the Grand Prize of the Jury at Jazz à Juan, Antibes/France, provides feminine vocal colours. Gary Barone, now a Freiburg resident who formerly worked for Sarah Vaughan, Stan Kenton and Zappa, inscribed himself on the guest list with a brilliant flugelhorn solo. And Congolese Tshisungu Kalomba adds to the afro beat flair his profound voice.
2001 sees Braun and Maragnoli release the 4-track EP “A New Beginning”. It´s their first own release on Compost you can find the driving afro beat “Wewa” and the relaxing “O Preguiçoso” on . This samba-infected tune has already been recruited for Rainer Trüby`s “Glücklich 4” compilation, whereas “Wewa” also resides on the“Compost 100” jubilee album. With “Move On” the duo contributes to Lab Records’ house compilation “Deep Chords” in 2002.
The two producers change their name to the catchy Intuit whilst working on their first longplayer. A special experience is Andy Bey, praised as one of the most beautiful male vocalists in jazz by many fellows, paying a visit to their studio. Bey graces the retro SciFi track “Planet Birth” as well as “Western Sunrise” with the incredible power of his flexible voice. The latter, being the only cover version on the album, was discovered by Maragnoli on a 1974 album by R&B organist Doug Carn and released on Black Jazz. Carn who´s already played as guest musician with Earth, Wind & Fire, has released a number of legendary albums, both solo and with his wife Jean. He explicitly gives his blessings to the adaptation which is additionally furnished by a spoken-word commentary, thought up by Muneer B. Fennell who is one of the few great jazz cellists of Steve Coleman and Doug Hammond fame.
Carn reappears playing his B3 on ”Fenytola”, Intuit`s dedication to the afro beat heroes Fela Kuti and Tony Allen whilst at the same time giving away their creative process. They approach musical history with freely chosen anachronism by using old drum skins and cheap microphones. Still they managed to escape sheer copying with a surprising cast: Thus guitarist Ray Obiedo, like Carn, also acts on unfamiliar ground in “Fenytola”. The former session musician of Herbie Hancock and long time member of Bill Summers “Summers Heat” fills up the arrangement with his fantastic feel for gaps.
Intuit establish a contact with their ideal candidates for a large format opener in brazil style. To catch the Bahian and bossa flair of “Criança Das Ondas” in an appropriate way, they ask the most flamboyant couple of Brasilian jazz and Música Popular for vocal support: Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. At first, Michael Spiro (“Talking Drums”!) provides a multi-track batucada and Ray Obiedo exclusively flys from San Francisco to L.A. for the production of the vocal section: And here they are, the two adopted Californians, displaying their unmistakable Brazilian voices, backed by Purims daughter Dianna Booker and Sandy Cressman. And it goes without saying that Airto couldn’t help but adding some percussive refinements.
The unique Dean Bowman is the last of the guest vocalists on the album. Bowman usually tours in an avantgarde context (f.ex. Elliott Sharp) but recently won attention through his work with Jane Burnett on her Cuban orientated discs. In “Let It Flee” he unfolds his overwhelming, warm-hearted soul potential – within a generous setting which also leaves enough space for a smooth guitar solo by Obiedo and a witty Moog excursion by Carn.
With Johannes Mössinger Intuit return to their hometown – the Freiburg pianist who plays with Joe Lovano on his latest release “Monk’s Corner”, closes the album with a dreamy outro.
Without a doubt “Intuit – The Album” is an exceptional debut, transforming the glory period of black music into the 21st century with a unique, personal stroke.