You want to be faithful, but then you try to take the vibe of the context of the piece, go on with it a little more, and take it a little further.
While the European jazz scene has been vibrant and forward-looking for decades, it's only been in recent years that some of its brightest stars have received the kind of exposure in North America that they've both deserved and enjoyed elsewhere. The German ECM label, in particular, has been responsible for generating renewed interest in aging but still active and innovative artists, including Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, to American audiencesnot only through recordings, but concert tours as well. Proof that art isn't static and that, for its best practitioners, it's a lifelong commitment.
Along with Stanko and Rava, Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson is another artist long-associated with ECM whose profile has risen in recent years. Through his work with Stanko, saxophonist Charles Lloyd and his own trio, his delicately-nuanced approach to interpretation is finally getting the attention it deserves. He may not have the cachet of a Keith Jarrett, but on his latest release, Goodbyefeaturing long-time musical companion, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Paul Motianhe demonstrates an equal improvisational élan; the ability to both get to the musical heart of things and take it to new and unexpected places.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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