JULIE SASSOON SOLO PIANO - If You Can't Go Outside ... Go Inside (Jazzwerkstatt)

Although the music on this cd was recorded four years ago, it is now released as British pianist Julie Sassoon's lockdown record. In July 2016 she recorded two long solo acoustic piano pieces live in the rbb Kulturradio Studios in Berlin. It was a moment of pure magic where she gave free way to her instant creativity. The first piece 'At The Water Tower' lasts for 19 minutes and sounds like an explosion of energy but not without a cause. When you listen to it, you have to do the same as Julie did when she performed it: let go, don't think, allow the avalanche of notes to take over and go with the flow. Listening to this piece, I had a strange image in my head of a small bunch of bike racers going to the finishline and looking at each other, going faster and faster and then slow down, hesitating, having a break, sniffing and then again giving all the power they have to finish first. The second piece 'Murmuration' lasts for 12 minutes and is more like contemplating but also builds up towards the end creating a wonderful bow of tension. On both pieces Sassoon shows her tremendous skills on the piano whilst playng two astonishing pieces of music. In the liner notes she explains in a perfect way what this music is about: 'Whilst playing At The Water Tower I managed to reach a space where no thoughts are present, only sound and energy. (...) towards the end of this piece my fingers spontaneously began to move at double speed, leading me somewhere I've never been before.' That's also the mindset in which this record has te be listened to. And finally she explains the connection with the Covid-19 lockdown situation: 'The time of lockdown (...) self-refection seems to me like the right moment to share this music. A music that moves inwards to access an inner world, away from twitter, likes and clicks.'

(Geert Ryssen)

Julie Sassoon - piano

  • AZOLIA - Not About Heroes (Jazzwerkstadt)

    The third album by the Belgian/German/Swiss quartet Azolia is a thematic record about the English poet Wilfred Owen whose poetry belongs to the artistic heritage of the Great War (14-18). Ten of Owen's lyrics were set to music by Sophie Tassignon and Susanne Folk and they are pearls of beautiful serenity.

    The voice of Tassignon, the voice of Folk who also plays the wind instruments together with Lothar Ohlmeier and the tasteful double bass work of Andreas Waelti merge into an harmonious and rich sound palette. You can choose music to support a certain atmosphere or state of mind, but conversely, music can also just determine atmosphere and mood. That's what 'Not About Heroes' does.

    With her solo album 'Mysteries Unfold', Sophie Tassignon has opened up a new dimension in her singing performance and she pulls that through in a stunning way as the fourth instrument in an intimate quartet set-up in which every musician forms an essential part of the whole. That makes 'Not About Heroes' a work of penetrating beauty.

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Sophie Tassiginon (vocals), Susanne Folk (alt sax, clarinet, vocals), Lothar Ohlmeier (soprano sax, bass clarinet) Andreas Waelti (double bass)

  • COLIN FISHER - Reflections Of The Invisible World (Halocline Trance)

    Colin Fisher is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist with a substantial musical output going from solo-albums, the psych-improvistion duo Not The Wind, Not The Flag, the Colin Fisher Quartet, Monas, a collaboration with math-metal trio Many Arms to many guest appearances. 'Reflections Of The Invisible World' is a pure solo effort with Fisher playing guitar, sax and electronics. The seven pieces on the album are mainly ambient and create a dreamy, reflective atmosphere. If you like the ambient albums by John Zorn, you will also enjoy the work of Colin Fisher. Dispite the atmospheric character of the music there's also a tension in every piece that lifts it way above a sonic wallpaper function. There's always something interesting happening with a rich kaleidoscope of sounds.

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Colin Fisher (guitar, saxophone, electronics)
    Produced by Jeremy Greenspan

    (Will be released on vinyl and in digital form on Marsh 26th 2021)

  • SEE TROUGH 4 - Permanent Moving Parts (All-Set!)

    Like many contemporary musicians, bass player Pete Johnston has a very eclectic approach to music and has projects going from improvised- to chamber- and folk inpired music. On 'Permanent Moving Parts' he teams up with his long time collaborator Jake Oelrichs (drums) and two not so obvious choices with Lina Allemano (trumpet) and Michael Davidson (vibraphone). This turns out to be a wonderful combination. Lina Allemano plays fascinating lines and shows an unique phrasing. The sonic contrast with the vibraphone works wonderful. The rhythm section is totally part of the interaction between the four musicans who find a common goal in everyone of Johnstons pieces. Music with a free spirit, a distinct direction and nevertheless full of suprising twists. They go from counterpoint to swing and everything comes out in a natural flow. Contemporary 'jazz' at its best!

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Lina Allemano (trumpet)
    Michael Davidson (vibraphone)
    Pete Johnston (bass)
    Jake Oelrichs (drums)
    All compositions by Pete Johnston
    Produced by Mike Smith. Engineered and mastered by Fedge
    Recorded at Union Sound in February 2020

    (Will be released on March 12th 2021)

  • ANDREAS WILLERS - Haerae (Evil Rabbit Records)

    German guitarist Andreas Willers performs eight pieces solo on acoustic guitar. As with many musicians, the corona era is the trigger to be creative on a small scale. On 'Haerae', Willers improvises with complete abandon, sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes only a minute and a half. The sounds he produces are not always what is conventionally expected of his instrument. The sonorous possibilities are explored from all angles, but this is not a mere study work. Each piece does have a direction and a certain atmosphere and sounds like a set of thoughts that include associations, inferences and jumps.

    The musician in Willers blooms again in beautifully constructed gems that do not violate silence.

    Geert Ryssen

    Andreas Willers (Guitar))

  • Baars/Dumitriu /Henneman/Sola Aphorisms Aphorism Aphorisms (Evil Rabbit Records)

    In eleven improvised pieces, two Dutchmen, a Romanian and a Spaniard create a meeting place between different groundings, literally. The earth of their respective birthplace is the inspiration for pieces such as 'Paarse Hei', 'Estepa', 'Laagveen' or 'Brun Roscate'. Initiator George Dumitriu wanted to know more about the viola and formed a quartet there in which Ab Baars forms the sonorous cornerstone on shakuhachi. Although the music is anything but conventional, the record still evokes peace, even in the most whimsical pieces. After all, the sound image is not made up by competing instruments, on the contrary, there is room for silence and breath. Evocation and serenity make these eleven imaginative miniatures an engaging ambient listening adventure.

    Geert Ryssen

    Ab Baars (Shakuhacki, clarinet), George Dumitriu (flute, viola), Ig Henneman (viola), Pau Sola Masafrets (cello)

  • ANN PIERLé - Wiga Waga (W.E.R.F)

    There is a parallel between the An Pierlé Quartet and Taxi Wars, even though they make different music. In both cases, it is a story of two worlds that meet and where the improvisation/jazz element is fused with contemporary pop and (post)rock. This creates a form of innovative crossover that gives the blurring of genres a big boost. Singer-songwriter Pierlé and her partner/producer/musician Koen Gisen make a team with the duo SCHNTZL and the input is equal on both sides. This results in pearls such like 'Fingerspitz', 'Unreal', 'Imaginary Summer', 'Slow Down', 'Go On' or the elastic 'Slippery Fish'.

    Inspiration, variation, improvisation and flow are the ingredients of a natural fusion of musical backgrounds while An Pierlé perfectly retains her artistic identity. Brilliant record!

    Geert Ryssen

    An Pierlé (vocals, piano), Koen Gisen (sax, guitar), Hendrik Lasure (piano, electronics), Casper Van De Velde (drums, electronics)