Articles by Marithe Van der Aa

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Album Review

Sander Baan Quartet: Heartscape

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Unpretentious and unassuming--The Sander Baan Quartet's second album, Heartscape, is everything you might expect from a group of well-seasoned musicians with a clear artistic vision. Their music is simple, nonchalant and free from the fetters of the widespread jazz ego.Featuring both compositions of the bandleader, Dutch saxophonist Sander Baan, and the quartet's bassist, Jonathan Nagel, the album opens with “Emotional Landscapes," promptly laying down the band's signature recipe: a solid groove, a dash of effortlessly uncomplicated harmonies and ...

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Philosophisticated Lady

Jazz & The Wolf

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When a literary critic is analysing one of Hermann Hesse's most influential novels, the discussion of jazz music used as a literary device might not immediately jump to his mind. However, throughout Steppenwolf, a story about a troubled academic who believes to be split between man and wolf, jazz proves to be a crucial motif. “From a dance hall there met me as I passed by the strains of lively jazz music, hot and raw as the steam ...

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Philosophisticated Lady

Swinging with Sartre: Jazz Is Like Bananas

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“Jazz is like bananas, it must be consumed on the spot." These immortal words were first brought to life by the famous French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre in an article that appeared in the Saturday Review, November 29, 1947. The article, titled I Discovered Jazz in America, was written after a visit to jny: New York City in the mid-forties, where Sartre had attended a jazz performance at Nick's Bar. “They play. You listen. No one dreams. ...

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Album Review

Bruno Råberg: Triloka: Music for Strings and Soloists

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The number three has always had a symbolic and spiritual significance in many different religions and cultures--and, in his latest album Triloka (literally translated as 'Three Realms'), Swedish bassist Bruno Råberg pays his own personal homage to the trinity of...well, everything. Inspired by South Indian carnatic music, the album immediately cuts to the chase with its enchanting title track, “Triloka," which--not too surprisingly--has a threefold structure. The entire album is written for strings only, and despite not having ...

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Album Review

Marc Doffey Quintet: Taking Direction

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Over the course of 17 tracks, the Berlin based Marc Doffey Quintet sets out to create a suite filled with lyrical and dynamic soundscapes... and succeeds. Their debut album, Taking Direction, consists of compositions written by each individual band member and brief, improvised interludes. By including compositions of each member, the Marc Doffey Quintet places a refreshing emphasis on the diversity and various personalities that determine the group's sound. In the jazz scene--a place where it is dangerously ...

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Philosophisticated Lady

Jazz & Existentialism: Worlds Apart?

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Jazz: a form of musical expression that originated in the United States. Existentialism: a European school of thought that reached its peak in the 1940s. At first thought, we might not associate these two phenomena with one another, yet their correlation throughout history is indisputable. Existentialism in the modern sense of the word, was largely defined in France during and after World War II. There are a considerable amount of factors one must take into account when examining ...

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Album Review

Moon Trio: Moon Trio: Earth-Time

Read "Moon Trio: Earth-Time" reviewed by Marithe Van der Aa


Graceful melodies and grooves merge together effortlessly on the debut album of this recently formed trio led by Dutch pianist Jeroen Van Vliet. With the help of occasional electronic effects, Van Vliet and his trio create soundscapes of a dreamlike quality that trigger and inspire the imagination.While it is far from uncommon for contemporary jazz musicians to resort to technical showmanship, these three musicians wisely refrain--and it becomes them. On Earth-Time you will find no complex melodies , ...


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