Belleke is an odd sort of chamber jazz recording, where the expected elegance is eschewed for a gawky, captivating motion. With their sophomore release, Baloni, the string trio of violist Frantz Loriot, bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, and multi-reedist Joachim Badenhorst hit on a range of expressionism that covers the breadth from an uneasy serenity all the way to a crashing wave of dissonance. Yet, despite the varying degrees of silence and sound, the songs all sound part of a cohesive image.
The gorgeous harmonies that open the door and invite the listener in on title-track “Belleke” continue to lay the groundwork for this album’s underlying tranquility even as Badenhorst slides over the surface with a trembling clarinet passage. That mix of agitation and ease is why subsequent track “Building Nothing out of Something” can enter with a low hum of dissonance struck through with abrasive growls, and yet still sound fluid and logical in the flow of one album track to the next.
On “Mon Seul Désir,” the trio are like wolves howling up to the moon, the disconnected notes bound by a common purpose. Similar to tracks “”Snowflakes” and “What Grows Beneath,” the music is framed in an unsettled peacefulness, vulnerable to the shifting tides of “Feuertreppe” and “Forgetting,” both with passages ferocious and stunningly beautiful, as well as the brazen cacophony of “Turning Inwards, Like a Glove,” “Heaving Hearts” and “Casse Méditative,” untamed songs of an unpredictable nature.
And through it all, a motion with a strange and captivating flow.
Your album personnel: Frantz Loriot (viola), Pascal Niggenkemper (double bass), and Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet, bass clarinet, sax).
Released on Clean Feed Records.
Some of this review’s intro was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic (via Wondering Sound), so here’s some language protecting their rights to the reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…
“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2014 eMusic.com, Inc.
As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic & Wondering Sound for the gig.