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Wolfert Brederode Trio: Black Ice

Mark Sullivan By

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Dutch pianist Wolfert Brederode returns to a piano trio format after the quartet albums Currents (ECM, 2007) and Post Scriptum (ECM, 2011). Not only a trio, but also new playing partners in bassist Gulli Gudmundsson and drummer Jasper van Hulten . While there's no radical stylistic shift with the new band—it's still mainly about mood and atmosphere—new material was written with these musicians in mind.

The well-titled "Elegia" opens the album, setting the plaintive, elegiac tone. The title tune is built on a bass ostinato—yet it still somehow feels rhythmically untethered, except for a moment near the end when Brederode's piano introduces a bit of thematic material, joined by the bass in a brief departure from its repetitive pattern. It's the kind of subtlety this band delights in. "Bemani" begins rubato, piano chords with long arco bass tones; then the band comes together in time for the final section.

Gudmundsson's contribution "Conclusion" shares the rubato feel, but with his bass taking the lead. Van Hulten's drums are so light here they are almost completely textural. In contrast "Fall" opens with the drums forward, playing a fractured rock rhythm, then the piano breaks into a catchy theme with the bass doubling. It's a different sound, showing a more extroverted side of the group—more of this would have been welcome. An entire album in that style would almost sound like a different band. "Curtains" is another lovely jazz tune, this time with a more traditional feel in the rhythm section: memorable solos from Gudmundsson and Brederode. "Bemani" and "Fall" are both reprised at the end of the program, in brief, abstract Variations that strip them down to their essence.

Track Listing: Elegia; Olive Tree; Bemani; Black Ice; Cocoon; Fall; Terminal; Conclusion; Curtains; Rewind; Bemani (Variation); Glass Room; Fall (Variation).

Personnel: Wolfert Brederode: piano; Gulli Gudmundsson: double bass; Jasper van Hulten: drums.

Title: Black Ice | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ECM Records


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