Tag Archives: Piano

Søren Bebe Trio: Echoes

Echoes

Danish jazz pianist and composer Søren Bebe and his trio have released their excellent sixth studio album ‘Echoes’ in May 2019.

Søren is a busy member of the Danish jazz scene but also his fellow musicians – Kasper Tagel on double bass and Anders Mogensen on drums – are well known and very active musicians.

The trio exists in this form since 2007 and has been able to play concerts around the world, which means, we have some experienced musicians that have been able to develop their own sound over the years. A sound that has been continuously checked and refined through live performances. The result of this process is an excellent album, perfectly balanced and pleasantly soft and melodic. The inspiration of this album comes obviously from jazz music but also  from classical and folk music.

Søren explains: “I’ve always been interested in classical music and fascinated by the classical players and also had my 3-4 years of intense classical training in my 20’s to the point where I almost decided to go all in and l leave the jazz playing behind. That stopped when I heard my teacher’s 14 year old protege in concert and realized how far behind I was. But I still practice and play the masters on a daily basis and have been working on some pieces for the trio. Sospiri Op.70 by Edward Elgar made it to the album and ‘Pavane for a Dead Princess’ by Ravel is just out as a single but from the same session. I also love folk music and I made a whole album with Danish folksong together with singer Ditte Rønn some years ago. We did an arrangement of a fairly unknown Danish folksong ‘Kærlighedstræet’ (the ‘tree of love’) and it has stuck with me ever since so I wanted to do a trio version also”.

Another traditional song that made it onto the album is the well known Danish psalm ‘Jeg er træt og går til ro’ (which means ‘I’m tired and off to bed’). This song is used as a goodnight song for kids but also for funerals as it talks about having a rest while Jesus watches over you. A video of the recording is available and I have added it here for you:

The album starts with the title song ‘Echoes’ which is my favorite tune on the album, soft and slow with an incredible feeling of space and time.

‘Waltz for Steve’ is a homage to Steve Swallow. The first solo goes here to Kasper Tagel on double bass followed by a great piano solo. After the soft beginning we hear the jazzy side of this trio.

The next song ‘Winx’ returns to the melancholic mood from the beginning, a soft piano dominated ballad with an excellent bass solo.

‘Homeward’ is a composition from Kasper Tagel. There is also a nice video available for this song:

The album continues with the two traditional songs ‘Kærlighedstræet’ and ‘Jeg er træt og går til ro’. Both songs are in the same mood as the initial song and contribute to the soft and melancholic vibe of this album.

‘Alba’ comes next. The song is dedicated to the city of Alba, Italy and its lovely people where Søren and his trio have been able to play a couple of times and where they have made good friends.

‘Alone’ is based on a bass riff played by the piano and even if it is a jazz tune it reminds me a little bit of J.S. Bach.

The next tune ‘New Beginning’ stands out. Søren has some more details: “Finally we did some free improvisation in the studio which resulted in two songs, one of them being on the album and entitled ‘New Beginning’. The title is a reference to a song from Charlie Haden’s album ‘The Montréal Tapes’ which is one of my personal top 10 albums”.

The album finishes with ‘Sospiri Op.70′ by Edward Elgar, a romantic composition that fits perfectly into the style of this trio.

This album comes in a very soft and melancholic mood. The music of this trio is extremely calm and melodic and it spans the bridge from the classical music of the 19th century into our era. The inspiration from classical and folk music gives the trio and this album it’s unique sound and atmosphere.

More information about Søren and his projects is available on his website: https://www.sorenbebe.dk/

And finally a playlist on Spotify to listen to the whole album:

 

Gábor Csordás: Swansong

swansong_cover

Hungarian pianist Gábor Csordás released his excellent album “Swansong” on March 25, 2019. The line-up of this album is truly international with three musicians from three continents:

  • Gábor Csordás (Hungary) – piano
  • Noriaki Hosoya (Japan) – electric bass
  • Marty Risemberg (USA) – drums

Gábor and Nori met 2010 at a jam session in Berlin and felt that they share the same musical vision, so they started playing together, initially with a drummer from Italy.  After recording a demo album and a few concerts the band split up after the drummer lost the motivation for the project. Gábor and Nori moved back to their hometowns, so the project looked like it came to an end. In 2014 Gábor started to play on cruise ships where he met Marty and the idea of the project was revived. In 2016 all three met in Budapest to record this album. After two days of rehearsal the album was recorded in two days. It took Gábor two years to produce the final mix of the album and Hunnia records showed interest and released it in 2019.

The album starts with “Birdseye”, a song with a beautiful theme. The first solo goes to Nori and his six-string Adamovic electric bass, which creates the special sound on the album – acoustic piano and electric bass. This song is already one of my favorites on the album because of it’s melodic theme.

“Breaking Through” comes next. This song was written some years ago and made it on the first demo CD in 2012. Gábor explains: ” It has influences from Charles Mingus and also some more electronic sounds in the latter parts of the song, but during the climax the band really sounds more like a rock band than anything else”.

“Turbulence” is another highlight of the album. It was new to the band when they recorded the album. It stands out with its 5/8 meter and with its Sonata-like structure that resembles the music of J.S.Bach. Gábor has some more details: “Bass and drums play strictly in time, but the piano plays with polyrhythmic or even out of time feel”.

The album continues with “The Panda March”, a soft song with a beautiful melody and a great dynamic ending with an excellent drums solo.

“Trapped Light” is the next song and stays in the same mood as the last song, a very melodic and soft theme, followed by an excellent piano solo with increasing dynamics and a virtuous bass solo.

“Painting with two colors” is in 11/8 meter and has some Hungarian folk influences. The band plays and varies with this unusual meter and Gábor and Marty shine in their solos.

The ballad “Cradle Me” comes next. This song was originally written for a singer and Gábor played it with his synth-pop band “Silence Factory”.

“Play” starts with Nori on bass playing an intro in almost guitar style. This song has a pretty funky-swingy beat and was inspired by Robert Glasper. Gábor told me that other influences of his work are “Esbjörn Svensson trio, Kaltenecker trio and Brad Mehldau, ECM music in general, but with the addition of Marty to the group we started to have an edgy sound especially in the live concerts”. This song is another highlight on the album and also made it on my playlist.

“Koletzki” continues with the straight funky-beat and feeling. This song was inspired by the electronic dance music of Berlin. Again a very dynamic piano solo, bass and drums hold the groove and Gábor enjoys his freedom. An open interlude leads over to the funky theme and a stunning finale of the song.

“If Ever” the last song on the album feels like the encore of a concert after the finale of “Koletzki”. The band shows one more time its mastership with a very rhythmic theme, the pianist enjoys his freedom over a straight drums and bass layer and another excellent drums solo ending the song and the album.

As I said before, I like the combination of the electric bass with the acoustic piano, I also like the classical and very European approach of Gábor’s piano playing together with the straight bass and drums by Nori and Marty.

The band was on tour in Japan in April 2019 and Gábor has some more details: “The tour in 2019 went really well, the band has played in Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo. The first and last show were sold out, and people were really enthusiastic about the music. In Shizuoka there was already a line of people buying CDs during the break. That was an experience I’ve never had before. Japan is a country where people still buy CDs and want them signed. We had to sign quite a lot of CDs.  After finishing the tour we have recorded four new songs in Tokyo, and there are big plans for a release tour in Europe in the fall of 2019, with additional recording sessions, so that the new CD would arrive early 2020″.

So let’s watch out if there is a chance that this band comes to Switzerland, would be great to see them live.

Tour dates are found on Gábor Csordás’ website: https://gaborcsordas.com/

Gábor produced a video during the Japan tour 2019:

Here is a playlist on Spotify to listen to the whole album:

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