Discovering a 'new' artist or a musician unknown is always a treat. Guitarist Peter Hertmans from Belgium is one who won't disappoint, even though his music may not have reached as many listeners as it deserves. Yet the music on Cadences
is the result of two years of playing with his quartet, as Hertmans explains on the back cover of the CD.
Daniel Stokart (soprano sax), Theo de Jong (bass) and Lionel Beuvens (drums), according to Hertmans, are stimulating musicians who pushed him to rethink his way of composing. The opening track, "Tritone Song," leaves nothing to be desired as Stokart takes off in an exhilarant flight, backed by the rhythmic pulses of his fellow musicians until Hertmans takes over in a consolidating manner that sets the reoccurring groove throughout the entire composition.
It's a very strong opener followed by "Merci Philip," a homage to guitarist Philip Catherine. Breathing this dark Patricia Barberesque mood, it offers strong, melodic bass and cinematic features that act as guides through various soundscapes. Hertmans' ability to combine technique and a sincere sense for his instrument without showing off seems to voice the position of each member in this quartet. It's one for all and all for one, adapted to suit the principle of contemporary improvisation. There's room for everyone to be heard, even if drummer Beuvens succeeds by delivering tasteful accents and adding subtle grooves rather than expressing his skills using force.
"1310" seems to linger in continuous preparation for something waiting to happen, portraying notions and moments instead of following the pattern of a designated theme. Both guitar and drums set the tone initially, until Stokart lets his soprano sax tempt Hertmans to follow closer than an echo. Strong emotion and a sense of disorientation are created by avoiding persistent focus on the music and resisting surrender to these musicians' musical universe.
The title track is split into two parts, again appealing to the imagination and a willingness to enter a whole new universe created by this quartet. To surrender to the music reveals rewards on the Latin-tinged "Cadence II," where light and leisure and the undercurrent of a powerful groove leave some of the album's earlier and luring complexities behind.
Cadence's ten tracks vary in length, with a total of nearly an hour to spend in this quartet's company. What's present in this collection of antecedentsfor that's what the music seems to trigger and touchis the memory of something essential that happened, once upon a time, now allowing emotions and senses to step up, move forward and reach the next level. What the Peter Hertmans 4tet has to offer is intuitive, organic and universal, but it's something with an impressive mark all its own.
Personnel: Peter Hertmans: guitars; Daniel Stokart: soprano sax; Theo de Jong: bass; Lionel Beuvens: drums.