Mar 13 2014
A Long Story Short, the new release by the Rembrandt Frerichs Trio, is an album of two phases. Its most striking feature is a richly conversant rhythmic array, revealing strengths in the dynamics of the details as it does in the delivery of its electric charge. It is in the uptempo pieces where this particular album’s characteristic is most accurately defined. But this is also album that slows things down to a contemplative drone, to where the rhythm gets swept up in the melody’s strong and beautiful flow. The shift between these two phases is presented in a way completely natural, and the contrast between the two binds the album’s individual songs cohesively with as much force as its commonalities.
Your album personnel: Rembrandt Frerichs (piano, harmonium), Tony Overwater (bass), and Vinsent Planjer (drums).
For the latter phase, it’s Overwater’s bass arco that behaves as the primary melodic device… either by way of statement or accompaniment, its presence is most resonant on a recording that is highly evocative.
“Hedashr,” with its deliberate tempo, is given a warm personality by the strata of Frerich’s piano and harmonium, but it’s Overwater’s cool bass arco carries the greatest weight. And on tracks “Stav,” and “Long Story Short,” bass arco is in the drivers seat, with Frerichs’ piano accompaniment shadowing its path and marking its shape in partnership with drummer Planier.
As he did on his 2012 release Continental, Frerichs tackles a Coltrane composition. This time it’s “Naima,” and while using bass arco to lead out on this traditionally introspective piece may seem at first blush like an easy grab at the heartstrings, the trio’s tasteful rendition renders that initial observation obsolete, providing both an honest take on the song while also fitting a bit of moodiness between two upbeat album tracks.
“December” illustrates the trio’s focus on toying with tempo. Much like how pockets of rapids move at different speeds within the same river’s flow, each trio member sets their site on the song’s horizon line and, at first, proceed as one, but then break apart and head out at their own individual pace… yet still as one. A different effect comes across on “Once Upon a Time,” which behaves more as a game of leap frog, with the motion created by the perpetual change in position.
“Spring Bells” is all kinds of chipper… a melody light on its toes, and a rhythm that propels it ever upward. “Elf” ups the ante on both of those fronts, a tidal wave of rhythmic intensity and a pretty melody that hides within it.
Just a real lively and exciting album that allows all kinds of lovliness to shine brightly.
Released on Challenge Records.
Jazz from the Rotterdam, Netherlands scene.