Nov 13 2015
Recommended: Lisbeth Quartett – “Lisbeth Live”
Sometimes you just need to hear a band perform live to get a better sense of what they’re all about. Lisbeth Quartett has put out a couple of nice studio albums, which I’ve mentioned previously either on this site and/or my eMusic Wondering Sound columns… but nothing about those albums really blew me away. They were both interesting enough to garner a mention, and one of the quartet’s members is saxophonist Charlotte Greve, who is one of those musicians who keeps popping up on interesting projects, so there was that, too. But there was something about those studio recordings that left me feeling like maybe the band was holding something back, or conversely, what was intended never actually materialized in its fullest form.
Culled from a handful of different concerts, Lisbeth Live doesn’t hold back and there’s no shortage of creative inspirations seeing the light of day. Consisting of seven tracks, most over ten minutes in length each, the quartet tucks a melodic inspiration under their arm and just go wandering. Often, they end up in some seriously beautiful places. Sometimes paths taken don’t lead to anywhere in particular, and that’s okay, since the journey can be just as fruitful as the landing spot. But this album’s biggest attraction is the opportunity to hear the musicians flesh out their ideas, with the question of what-comes-next just as compelling as any one expression at a particular moment in time. This is not a perfect album by any means, but this is the kind of recording that shouldn’t get measured by its individual parts… it needs to be taken in as a whole. It’s the kind of recording that slowly accumulates a strong appreciation, where you’re less likely to hang onto the edge of each and every moment and more likely to suddenly snap to and think, hey, I’ve really been enjoying this album.
Favorite track: “Secret Ingredient” – Its mix of thick contemplation and a strong beating heart pumping blood like mad is just outstanding.
Bonus upside to this live album: It provides an additional context for their studio albums and a motivation to revisit each of them.
Definitely check this one out.
Your album personnel: Charlotte Greve (sax), Manuel Schmiedel (piano), Marc Muellbauer (bass) and Moritz Baumgärtner (drums).
Released on Traumton Records.
Jazz from the Brooklyn scene.
Jan 19 2019
Best of 2018 #7: Marike van Dijk – “The Stereography Project feat. Jeff Taylor and Katell Keineg”
“A remarkable example of diverse aspirations attaining a cohesive vision,” is how I described the 2018 release from Marike van Dijk for The Bandcamp Daily in my round-up of the Best Jazz of 2018. What the statement refers to is two-fold. First, the alto saxophonist adds to the challenge of her 2015 Stereography Project release of bringing improvisational elements to a chamber jazz environment by adding an additional layer of difficulty by composing for vocalists. Furthermore, as a reflection of her time spent living in New York City and her native Amsterdam, van Dijk brings together two different ensembles and two different vocalists from those locales. That’s a lot of variables to incorporate, and van Dijk makes it seem as simple as taking your next breath. But it’s more than just overcoming a great challenge; it’s that this music is bursting with life and awash in nuance and the tiny details that make the difference between a pretty song and one possessing the emotional charge to melt hearts and move mountains. In my original write-up of this album for The Bandcamp Daily, I said “[These] aren’t proper love songs per se, but they sure do evoke euphoria, heartbreak, and all of the ineffable emotions that fall between those extremes.” This music is timeless.
Released on Hert Records.
Music from NYC and Amsterdam.
Read more on Bird is the Worm.
Available at: Bandcamp | Amazon
By davesumner • Recap: Best of 2018 • 0 • Tags: Amsterdam, Anna Webber, Charlotte Greve, Hert Records, Jazz - Best of 2018, Marike van Dijk, New York City