This album has been ten years in the making. Bringing together compositions that she has written over the last decade, trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis has created an enchanting musical biography of the seminal events of her life during that span. But it’s not the biographical facts surrounding the compositions that makes this album so compelling. There is a hint of the epic emanating from many of these tunes, though not so much in the universal story sense, but in that way time can make a microcosm out of the important moments of our lives and give them a weightiness that, perhaps, we only barely felt as they occurred.
It’s this quality that drew me to the album.
Your album personnel: Nadje Noordhuis (trumpet, flugelhorn), Sara Caswell (violin), Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Joe Martin (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums), James Shipp (cajon, pandeiro, aux. percussion), and Rupert Boyd (classical guitar).
These are tunes that sway with conviction. Yet even with their graceful ease, there is potent emotion bubbling just beneath the surface. Tracks like “Magnolia,” which rides the wings of violin and trumpet from start to finish, and “Waltz For Winter,” which follows a trail struck out on piano, possess a gravity that prevents the tune from simply becoming atmospheric and flighty.
And the up-tempo tunes have no less an abiding regard for the momentous. “Le Fin” has a thriving pulse that emanates Big Things Happening, of memories in the making, and “Mayfair” opens with bold pronouncements on trumpet, but it’s the torrential piano lines that brings the storm down from the sky.
Even the placement of tracks on the album add to the story-like ambiance. Opening track “Water Crossing” has an Anything Is Possible exuberance, and the album ends with the demure “Open Road,” a duet of piano and flugelhorn, a tune which is pure resolve and reminiscence.
Noordhuis’s debut album gives us plenty of reason to look forward to when she sits down and composes the next chapter in her life.
Released on Little Mystery Records, which appears to be Noordhuis’s own label.
Originally from Australia, this is now jazz from NYC.
Noordhuis gives a pretty detailed run-down of the inspirations behind each track on her site HERE.
Of interest to me, and perhaps to some of you, Noordhuis is a member of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (big band), which I’m very thankful to have just discovered, because my head was about to explode with frustration at not being able to place from where I recognized Noordhuis’s name. I hope to have spared you similar pain.
You can stream the entire album on Noordhuis’s Bandcamp page. It can also be purchased there.