In Max Nagl's varied jumble of creative activities, Big Four comes nearest to what we traditionally perceive as jazz. Formed at the suggestion of the producer Werner X. Uehlinger, who introduced him to the recordings of the original Big Four (Sidney Bechet, Muggsy Spanier, Carmen Mastren, Wellman Braud) from 1940, the band released its first album in 2002 (hatOLOGY 585). «I wanted to work again with trumpet player Steven Bernstein anyway, and this was an opportunity to do so,» Max Nagl explains. «I knew that he was at home in many genres of traditional jazz. It was clear to me that he, too, should score pieces for this band. I myself was more interested in the instrumentation than in the music of Bechet, actually.» When the adventurous guitarist Noël Akchoté and the agile and equally powerful bassist Bradley Jones teamed up, an exciting mélange of strong, idiosyncratic personalities was born. — Tom Gsteiger