Jurgen Friedrich: Pollock (2009)
Pianist Jürgen Friedrich, bassist John Hebert and drummer Tony Moreno banded together in 1998 when Friedrich, who was on a visit to the United States, met the other two at a jam session. The empathy between them was instant and they decided to team up. They hit the road, creating an ambience that was snug in the comfort zone of chamber music.
Friedrich is a judicious and resolute pianist, choosing his notes with deliberation. He is in no hurry to form ideas, letting them take shape slowly as he develops a theme and improvises on it. In doing so, he ushers a pastoral feel into his music. Hebert and Moreno serve his cause well as they listen, respond, and add to the grain.
Pollock is a tip of the hat to Jackson Pollock and Friedrich frames his approach to reflect the art of the painter. He even gives Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight" a makeover by casting it in a soft light. He pulls back on the tempo, letting the melody sink in as the rhythm shuffles softly across his linesa tender and articulate take.
Apart from the Monk composition, the rest of the material was written by the band members. "Enclosed" and "Pollock" are trio tunes, both short improvisations that see the group create tiny pools of liquid textures. The latter is more introspective, and both are expressive enough, but neither brings in an edge to take them into the sunlight.
While the mood is largely cool, "Ripple" adds some spark and livens up the CD. Friedrich is loquacious, his lines lilting and upbeat. But he does slow down the tempo and changes the harmonic drive; Hebert and Moreno, however, let the pulse twitch and jump, giving the tune steady lifeblood.
The atmosphere is laidback and generally sedate, but the art of the three raises the music above the mundane.
Track Listing: Drift; Round Midnight; Ripple; Wayward; I Am Missing Her; Samarkand; Enclosed; Billy No Mates; Pollock; Over; Flauschangriff.
Personnel: Jürgen Friedrich: piano; John Hebert: bass; Tony Moreno: drums.