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Soren Kjaergaard / Ben Street / Andrew Cyrille: Femklang

Jakob Baekgaard By

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In his liner notes to the seminal Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959), pianist Bill Evans wrote eloquently about the link between Japanese visual art and improvisation, using the description of the technique of minimalistic painting as an analogy to the process of musical creation. Evans emphasized the need for an uninterrupted and natural approach to music making, eschewing elaborate artistic planning in favor of an approach which would allow the music to blossom in the moment while, at the same time, capturing a sense of something "that escapes explanation."

Listening to Danish pianist Søren Kjærgaard and his American trio immediately bring to mind what Evans was trying to capture in words. On the group's third effort, Femklang, there is sense of openness and spaciousness, a feeling of intuitive beauty, that is balanced by the intricate forms which arise in the communication between these three masterful musicians.

"The loop (Variation One)" introduces a gentle, trancelike rhythm, with a hi-hat in strict meter, punctuated by flourishes of piano and the wood carvings of Ben Street's bass.

"Row No. 18," however, is carried by a loose, swinging rhythm. Here, a walking bass pattern is the foundation of a delicate fountain of sound from legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille's percussion, while Kjærgaard dances sublimely around the tangents, pulling melodic motifs out of the air.

Throughout, there is a sense of uninterrupted, natural artistic elegance, which is the kind of aesthetic Evans wrote about. Like the best working trios, Kjærgaard, Street and Cyrille create a musical vocabulary that is entirely their own, at once modern and yet with a feel of the ancient Oriental masters who express a world of feelings in a supposedly simple Haiku or in the elegant brushwork of their paintings.

With Femklang, Kjærgaard, Street and Cyrille have reached their musical apotheosis so far, but there is no telling what the group will be able to do in the future. Their interplay radiates with the endless possibilities of art and in every effort, they seem to capture some of the elusiveness of musical creation.

Track Listing: The Loop (Variation One); A Diminished Proposal; Row No. 18; Tale of Weaving; Gravities of Play; Formindskede Smuler; Pedestra Pantonale; Chords & Clusters, Untitled; The Loop (Variation Two).

Personnel: Søren Kjærgaard: piano; Ben Street: bass; Andrew Cyrille: drums.

Title: Femklang | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ILK Music


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