Big Ship is the latest album to grace the extensive discography of Swiss pianist Christoph Stiefel and the fourth release from his Inner Language Trio. Stiefel is an underrated pianist. He lacks, so far, the public profile of other European players such as Joachim Kuhn or Michael Wollny but that's no reflection on his talent--as Big Ship clearly shows. For some time Steifel has been working with the concept of isorhythms--a musical strategy that dates back to mediaeval composers. On albums such as Live! (Basho Records, 2012) Stiefel has signposted this concept by sub-titling his compositions as Isorhythm ...read more
It's the end of a lengthy but enjoyable telephone interview with Christoph Stiefel and things are drawing to a close. Then the pianist asks if he can add one more comment: This is my year. This is a really happening year for me: it's incredible. I've developed my style solo and with my Inner Language Trio for eight, maybe 10 years. I've always had plans to incorporate my ideas into other projects: with a dancer, a bigger band and a singer. All of these ideas came through this year. I dueted with singer Lisette Spinnler [Bima Sakti (Traumton Indigo, 2012)], ...read more
There is nothing new under the sun. What modern composers such as Kyle Gann and Bruce Hobson have done with rhythms in recent decades was already theory and practice in the fourteenth century. Here, on 7 meilen Stiefel, Swiss pianist Christoph Stiefel in turn explores the possibilities of isorhythms within the context of a contemporary jazz trio.
The employment of isorhythms, (or the layering of different repetitive rhythms) may sound like an intellectual exercise and one which might run the risk of stifling freedom of expression. There is however no danger of that on 7 meilen Stiefel; the ...read more