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Sunday, February 10, 2013

CD Review: Soren Gemmer - at first


This is quite a sublime album. One that I didn't expect to like but I've become quite taken by it.
For once, the press notes tell it like it is and I have no qualms about endorsing them - no it's not a cop-out!
Lance.

The début album of piano player and composer Søren Gemmer, at first, presents an ambitious melodic and harmonic approach to contemporary improvised music. The album stages a love and awe of classical piano music in a context of expressive modern jazz.
at first introduces a fresh new talent in Danish jazz. It features ten original compositions rich in ideas and ingenuity and a quartet of exciting players from the Scandinavian scene. AT FIRST is a diverse musical universe created around the compositional signature of Søren Gemmer:
“On the majority of the compositions I have merged my love and awe of late romantic and modern classical composers with the improvisation, the sound, and the formal concepts of modern jazz. When the need to express and deal with the highs and lows of life imposed itself heavily on me a few years ago, I found myself restricted by what I knew as a jazz pianist.”  
When submerging in the piano music of Prokofiev, Søren Gemmer at one point stumbled upon ‘Visions Fugitives No. 1’. It was the explicit and clear melodic beauty, set against ambiguous and adventurous harmony, that indicated a clear compositional direction. Gemmer’s ‘Stay Silent’ is a tribute to is decisive inspiration:
“Balancing strong melody with eclectic harmonics is my way of engaging in the modern jazz idiom. Not least because I feel that this way around, the genre has a real potential to communicate to anyone seeking an emotional experience from music,” Gemmer explains.The album presents the Søren Gemmer Quartet. Guitarist, Per Møllehøj, and drummer, andreas fryland, who contribute a composition each, are widely 
known on the Danish jazz scene for their versatile yet distinctive playing. Bass player, tapani toivanen, has attracted attention from his work with the Joona Toivanen Trio, who have extensive European live activity and releases on EMI Blue Note and CAM Jazz to their name.
Recorded and mixed by legendary Dutch sound engineer, Chris Weeda, the album offers sonic clarity and finesse on a very high level.
Soren Gemmer: At First is available from February 18.

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