391

Trio ELF: 746

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Trio ELF: 746 With Trio ELF, Walter Lang takes the traditional piano trio format off on a dance groove tangent. The German pianist works and records prolifically with different piano trios, mostly acoustically, with a Bill Evans-like lyricism, a great respect for the form and an erudite depth to his artistry—which makes the groove-laced 746 a surprise for those not clued in to this direction by the group's debut set, ELF (Enja Records, 2006).

Souping up the piano trio for a more modern sound has become a trend. Several groups are engaged in the endeavor, with varying degrees of success. Ham-fisted to a distracting degree at their worst, long term fans of the acoustic form are advised to check out sound samples before jumping into the widening pool.

The best of them—count Trio ELF in that number—use sound effects judiciously to enhance and texture the trio sound as they delve deeply into synth-like drum 'n' bass grooves. Like Nik Bartsch's Ronin, Walter Lang, drummer Gerwin Eisenhauer and bassist Sven Faller craft a group sound that maintains an organic element within the tight rhythmic backdrop.

Lang's acoustic Softly As in a Morning Sunrise (Hagel Meyer, 2005) displayed Lang's equality of parts trio work, his beautiful studied lyricism and deft use of touch. With the drum 'n' bass, hip-hop like rhythms on 746 he doesn't abandon that approach, but breaks in and out of the repeated keyboard figures and dance groove momentum to take improvisational flight on the wings of his always lovely approach to melody, with an adroitness born of the depth of his classicism and long experience with the more mainstream piano trio work.

The set's title tune features a machine-precision rhythm as its foundation. Eisenhauer's sets down an implacable, clacking train groove as Lang drops handfuls of delicate piano note flowers on the tracks. "The Machine Man" sounds full of joy, like a happy cyborg dance. "Evet" is the most overtly "modern" of the tunes, with Eisenhauer's drumming sounding like a high-tech mechanism of meshing gears and smooth-rolling bearings behind Lang's repeated rhythmic figures.

"Slam Stew" opens with Lang playing with a delicate music box precision in front of Faller's sludgy bass, and "Arearea" features tinny, echoing approach, with some electric scrapes, from both Lang and Eisenhauer.

Trio Elf's 746 succeeds mightily in modernizing the piano trio sound.

Track Listing: Intro; 746; The Man Machine; Evet; Slam Stew; Arearea; Maydance; Azzurro; Adria; Intermezzo Op 116 (Brahms).

Personnel: Walter Lang: piano, electronics; Gerwin Eisenhauer: drums, electronics; Sven Fuller: bass, electronics.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Enja Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Varanda" CD/LP/Track Review Varanda
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Tangle" CD/LP/Track Review Tangle
by John Eyles
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette" CD/LP/Track Review Disorder at the Border Plays Ornette
by Nicola Negri
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Sounds of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds of 3
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!