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August Rosenbaum: Beholder

Mark Corroto By

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Considering the maturity and sophistication Beholder displays, it might be astonishing to learn that its composer/pianist, August Rosenbaum, is just 22. But, there it is. This youthful Danish jazzman recorded this Brooklyn session with countryman Jakob Bro (guitar) and Americans Dan Weiss (drums) and Thomas Morgan (bass).

What disturbs the norm here is the quiet patience these eight compositions display. Take "Shoyn Fargessen," a decelerated stride piano piece that Rosenbaum plays solo. He reveals that the grandeur is not in the speed but the emotion, and he is certainly gifted with emollient technique.

That stoicism is consistent throughout this recording, and the quartet displays the same steadiness. His pieces, more like poems, are balanced between minimalism and parade. They really awaken when Weiss injects non-jazz elements, such as a slight hip-hop swagger, into the ruminations on "Way Out" and "Delicate Matter." Rosenbaum's apple cart thus upset, he emotes more, drawing out ani intensity he seemingly prefers hidden. Bro, Rosenbaum's doppelganger, also prefers not to reveal too much in his playing. He is, though, a master of subtle effects and understated facility, much like Bill Frisell.

The phraseology of Beholder is one of poetry, but also of gesture. The group brings things to a hush with the mollifying ballad and droll blues, "Heinseit," a march which culminates in the 13-minute "Delicate Matter," a summation of all that is Rosenbaum's music. The contemplation gives way to an open book of guitar effects and urbanized pulse. Rosenbaum reacts with a stoical procession absorbing all forms of music as if he were a black hole in space.


Track Listing: Beholder; Absentia; Way Out; Romantics; Still, It Moves; Heinseit; Delicate Matter; Shoyn Fargessen.

Personnel: August Rosenbaum: piano; Jakob Bro: guitar; Dan Weiss: drums; Thomas Morgan: bass.

Title: Beholder | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced


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