Jesse Stacken - piano
Miles Perkin - acoustic bass and toys
Samuel Rohrer - drums and percussion
Fresh Sound Records 2010
Another release that is inspiring in a way it is a testimony to how vital and active young jazz music scene really is. An international project, led by Canada-born Peter Van Huffel (relocated to Berlin) with Jesse Stacken from NYC (a long-time partner of Peter in his quintet group), Miles Perkin (also from Canada, also currently in Berlin) and Samuel Rohrer from Switzerland (always rich with drummer talents in jazz music). Not that I had known anything of it before listening to the music presented here, just a couple of basic informations one can find on Peter's website.
And the music brings the energy and enthusiasm that comes with the youth, but is also backed by skills and immagination that is beyond that. They feel equally at home in fiery and fierce improvisation as in the strictly composed thematic material. In eternally slow and spacious "Melancholic" (with its terrific use of overwhelming silence, echo, resonance) or furiously fast-driving "Tangent" (showcasing a great percussive piano solo). Creating music that can be soothingly cold and beautiful (like winter landscape; "Excerpt II") or unnerving with its rhytmic and harmonic up & down jumps (knotty, bit thelonious-que line of "Enghavevej").
The playing is emotionally engaging, deeply felt (listen to the bass-drums interplay in "Beast II"), the compositions are intelligent, memorable, firmly established, but also leaving a lot of space for a dynamic solos and creative interplay. Adventourous, powerfull, gripping, an ensemble playing that nonetheless features explosive solo statements. With great variety in compositions but absolutely coherent sound conception.
The music of this cd is deeply gratifying the focus and attention one has invest, and I can only hope for more coming from these musicians in the near future.
I featured two tracks from the cd on this playlist.
you can listen to four tracks included on this cd on Peter's myspace page
And there are some decent quality videos on youtube. (I much prefer the cd version of this piece, the blurried keyboard sound doesn't have the some expressive and dynamic power in here, but it's nice to compare the two takes. The 'piano version" is available on myspace)
and here the subtle and lyrical "Excerpt II":