Sep 17 2017
Your Sunday Morning Jazz Album: Hans Ludemann – “Das Reale Klavier”
Sunday morning is when the serenity comes down. Sunday morning is the cocoon from the heavy exhaustion of too much Saturday night fun. Sunday morning is when the city agrees to use its inside voice. Sunday morning is when a hush settles in over the land. It is a time for sitting still and listening to quiet music and silently praying the aspirin and coffee do something to stop your head from exploding. Drama and stress are strictly forbidden on Sunday morning. Your Sunday Morning Jazz Album is just for you, for times just like these.
Hans Lüdemann is one of the more expressive musicians on the scene. A melody guided by the pianist’s hands will possess a liveliness that resonates like mad. And considering that he has a delivery that could be described as laid-back, the music’s strength is all that much more remarkable. That’s why it’s particularly illuminating to hear Lüdemann is a solo environment on the 2015 release Das reale Klavier – Ein Kölner Konzert, and discover that those same qualities exist in isolation, and that they’re not simply the result of the the incalculable cause-and-effect of ensemble collaborations.
Recorded in 2013 at a live performance at LOFT Köln , Lüdemann goes about his business of crafting sharp melodies and then elaborating upon them endlessly. The actual doses vary, but there’s a solemn tone to all of it. “Arabesque” enters a deep state of introspection, and the wobbly melodicism of “Ankunft” has a contemplative nature to it, as well. But it’s not an album completely lost in thought. “Rollended Steine” blends in a rag and some thick blues along the way, and tracks like “Blaue Kreise” and the two-part “Präludium” both add some dissonance through the odd tuning of Lüdemann’s virtual piano or just via his expressive technique. But more often than not, it’s tracks like “Heartbeats” and “Love Confessions,” with their sunny disposition and calm demeanor, that represent what this album is all about.
You need this album today, right now.
- Artist-Title: Hans Lüdemann – Das reale Klavier;Ein Kölner Konzert
- Personnel: Hans Lüdemann (piano, virtual piano).
- Proper Use: 1) Staring out the window at a city still asleep, 2) Music to accompany the slow, gentle effects of coffee upon your head and your soul, 3) Acting in the role of human pillow for your dozing cat(s).
Released in 2015 on BMC Records.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Soundcloud page.
Music from Hamburg, Germany.
May 3 2018
Scott DuBois makes a pretty good argument for savoring the cold seasons a little while longer
In 2015 and now again at the very end of 2017, Scott DuBois released albums inspired by the seasons. Considering his 2012 release Landscape Scripture focused on Claude Monet’s haystacks paintings, it was a natural transition. Looking back upon it now, perhaps that was where the guitarist began it all. Winter and then Autumn were the first stages of the cycle reinterpreted through DuBois’ sound in vision.
We are at that despairing stage of the seasons now, where we’ve persevered through the worst winter had to throw at us, but the nagging impatience for warmer days makes the lingering effects of cold weather nearly intolerable. DuBois gives us reason to keep celebrating the colder seasons. Preferably inside.
2015’s Winter Light is a day in the life of the bleakest season. It begins, as we all do, at first light, and then gradually cycles through the stages of the day until nightfall and, finally, sleep. The opening piece “First Light Tundra” beautifully captures the expressive skies and icy volatility of a winter morning. It’s driven by the potent combination of sunrise serenity and the massive presence of snow and ice and frozen winds just waiting on the other side of the window to pierce your soul the moment you step outside. And really, from that point, the music alternates shades of the opening’s tranquility and intensity. “Night Tundra” gives a sense of the oppressive collapse of wintertime darkness upon the earth, but also the insight that its enfolding embrace possesses a certain comfort when experienced within reach of a fireplace and warm lights and loved ones. The soothing drone of “Afternoon Ice Fog” is the eye of the storm, those fleeting hours when the beauty of winter eclipses its talent for inflicting pain. “Evening Blizzard” is the reminder of what awaits outside the protective shell of the eye of the storm.
Your album personnel: Scott DuBois (guitar), Gebhard Ullmann (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Kresten Osgood (drums).
Released in 2015 on ACT Music.
Available at: Amazon
DuBois’ treatment of the autumnal season is more expansive than that of winter. Some of this approach reflects the difference between the nuance of Winter and the brilliant bursts of autumnal colors. And, perhaps, the guitarist was simply looking to expand the tonal palette of his ensemble. DuBois adds a string quartet plus and a woodwind trio to the same quartet that gave voice to the winter season. The result is a focus on change. There’s the change of colors in the trees and the merciful relief from Summer’s debilitating heat, and how this brings about a sense of tranquility. But autumnal change is also the massive upheaval of life into the hibernation of Winter. So the great fluttering of wings on “Early November Bird Formations” and the explosion of brilliant colors on “Autumn Aurora Borealis” and “Late October Changing Leaves” and the eerie calm of “Late September Dusk Walk” shift with great suddenness between states of serenity and volatility. And regardless of which state holds at any one time, there’s an undercurrent of tension, as if the world were nervously awaiting the final change to manifest, and the inevitable descent into the cold months of winter.
Your album personnel: Scott DuBois (guitar), Gebhard Ullmann (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Thomas Morgan (bass), Kresten Osgood (drums), Eva León, Conway Kuo (violins), William Frampton (viola), Sarah Rommel (cello), Erin Lesser (flute), BJ Karpen (oboe), Elisabeth Stimpert (clarinet) and Michael Harley (bassoon).
Released in 2017 on ACT Music.
Available at: Amazon
By davesumner • Jazz Recommendations - 2015 Releases, Jazz Recommendations - 2017 releases • 0 • Tags: ACT Music, Scott Dubois