Johannes Wallmann (p, dir), Rob DZ (spoken), Russ Johnson (tp), Dennis Mitcheltree (ts), Dayna Stephens (bs), Kenny Reichert (g), John Christensen (b), Devin Drobka (d), Sharon Clark, Jan Wheaton, Keith Borden (vcl)
Bar code: 8427328435383
01. Equality! 5:28
02. Preamble 3:02
03. Love Wins 7:48
04. We (Reach For) Love 6:30
05. The Seventh Circuit 8:55
06. Can I Know (More Love) 7:08
07. Stonewall Was a Riot (5:48)
08. Go On 6:26
09. We (Will) Love 5:54
10. Coda 2:25
All compositions by Johannes Wallmann, MooseWorks Music, BMI.
Lyrics for 1,3,4,5,6,8,9 by Rob Dz Franklin
Johannes Wallmann (piano), Rob DZ (spoken), Russ Johnson (trumpet), Dennis Mitcheltree (tenor sax), Dayna Stephens (baritone sax, EWI), Kenny Reichert (guitar), John Christensen (bass), Devin Drobka (drums), Sharon Clark, Jan Wheaton, Keith Borden (vocals).
Recorded at Audio for the Arts Madison, WI, August 18,19 & 20, 2015
Recording/editing engineer: Buzz Kemper
Additional editing, mixing and mastering: Mark Whitcomb, DNA Studios, Madison, WI
Photography: Nick Berard
Graphic Design: Jamie Breiwick, B-Side Graphics
Produced by Johannes Wallmann
Executive Producer: Jordi Pujol
"Wallmann looks like a cheerful cove. Posing on your own album cover holding a toy piano suggests you don’t see yourself as Bill Evans, or Glenn Gould. But it would be a mistake to miss the seriousness of the pianist’s message here, which is a passionate call not this time for racial equality but for equal recognition for same-sex marriage. It’s dedicated to his husband of 10 years, partner of 19. They moved together from Canada to Wisconsin and have now bumped up against some strikingly illiberal legislation on the subject; The Seventh Circuit contains audio from an appeal court hearing, part of the bumpy road toward recognition that government strictures on same-sex marriage violate the 14th Amendment.
There’s a lot of spoken-word material from Rob Franklin, which is neither questionable nor revelatory, and too many soul-diva interjections on the subject of “L-O-V-E”, but the astonishing thing is that none of it detracts from the sheer, pungent musicality of Wallmann and his group. He doesn’t play at piano, let alone a toy one. His most prominent feature, on Can I Know (More Love), is classically direct. The arrangements are dark, determined stuff, especially on We (Reach For) Love, where Johnson delivers a terse, almost angry trumpet solo, almost a legal judgement, while Stephens finds a new, clarion voice on the EWI. However those bracketed titles are intended (and such things are almost a soul/pop cliché), they hint that within the seemingly generic emotion there is struggle, pain and intellectual necessity, as well as riotous joy: look at that Stonewall title - it means everything you think it does.
Wallmann makes a septet sound like something much larger, as big as his subject, maybe. Love Wins is as musically challenging as it is socially, and deserves to be heard on both counts."
Jazz Journal (February, 2017)
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