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Lars Dietrich: Breek De Grond

Mark F. Turner By

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A member of the stellar young jazz group called The Story, Amsterdam/New York saxophonist, Lars Dietrich delivers this fine debut which displays his acumen as a leader and composer. The young alto saxophonist earned a reputation in The Netherlands with local musicians and also impressed Herbie Hancock with his compositional skills when the two performed together on a local television show. Excelling in music academia, honing his chops on varied bandstands that have included Billy Hart and Dave Liebman, Dietrich is poised for greater recognition.

Going with a tried and true unit, Dietrich reenlists band members from The Story (Self Produced, 2009), along with special guests that include saxophonist Mersault. The tone of the recording is more organic and experimental; an extension of his interests in electric and acoustic music, which is heard in the consistent thread that connects these ten tracks.

The acoustic tracks like "Gullin Bursti" and "3 Excis" contain serrated tempos held in check by the power rhythm section of bassist Zack Loberand drummer Greg Ritchie, and serpentine horn salvos between Dietrich and tenor saxophonist Samir Zarif. John Escreet's chilled Fender Rhodes are also in stark contrast to his usual heated acoustic piano work. The electronic tracks are equally convincing. "Ruyis" speaks of Joe Zawinul's early Weather Report releases, whereas "Pstpreis" lays down a swarm of noises and layered sounds that might be heard on current Rune Grammofon releases.

Three of the most stimulating tracks are "Daggedachten," with Dietrich's sharp lines in perfect consonance and dissonance with Maria Neckham's wordless lyrics; "Lucht Geboren," where touches of harmony and heated solos as the band swings anew; and "Vrij," a soundscape of electronics and melody that is alien-like yet beautiful and soulful. Fresh visions from a promising new voice.

Track Listing: Breek De Grond; Gullin Bursti; Ruis; Fort Nacht; Lucht Geboren; 3 Excis; Daggedachten; Pstpreis; Verlossing; Vrij.

Personnel: Lars Dietrich: alto saxophone, electronics; Samir Zarif: tenor saxophone; (1, 2, 5, 10); John Escreet: Fender Rhodes; Zack Lober: acoustic and electric bass; Greg Ritchie: drums and cymbals; David Binney: alto saxophone (7); Ben Van Gelder: alto saxophonist (7); Maria Neckham: voice and synth (8).

Title: Breek De Grond | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Self Produced

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