I've just returned from Berlin and Innsbruck, first for the "Functional Sounds Conference" and then to meet my week old niece, Maja.
On the train from Munich to Innsbruck, I met some musicians in the restaurant car, travelling to their gig that night, at the Treibhaus.
Visiting family far away and catching up with everyone, the gig was over before we had left the house.
We met the band afterwards in the bar and spent a fine evening chewing the cud about rhythm, virtuality, trumpeter Lew Soloff's interest in the neuro-physiology of musical performing, mine in the geo-location of sounds and bandleader Ray Anderson's recent foray into global jamming via the Web.
They are called the Ray Anderson Pocket Brass Band. To my shame I hadn't heard of them.
I bought their CD "Sweet Chicago Suite" and started listening on the plane back to England.
The shockingly amazing, funny and clever mixture of carnivalesque New Orleans marching band with bop-inflected, poly-rhythmic counterpoint blew me away.
These four guys - Trombone, Trumpet, Sousaphone and Drums - make an enormous, orchestral sound.
Complex and rich, funny, warm and compelling.
All the compositions on this disc are highly structured yet full of spontaneous call and response, sudden and gradual processes of change calling on all Matt Perrine's sousaphonic genius to underpin the harmonies while Bobby Previte's drums are a showcase in controlled understatement and wit.
Everyone should own a copy of this music. It will make you laugh aloud with delight.
Buy (and preview) Sweet Chicago Suite here