As it turns out, there is a special story behind that. For four years leading up to this recording, Austrian-born pianist Markus Gottschlich
preserved "sounds" he heard around the world using a binaural mic and hand-held recording device. He writes that one thing he found was that "sounds, more than any other sensory stimulus" sparked his imagination and set his creative juices in motion. He has incorporated a number of those sounds into the nine original compositions on this picturesque album, from hurricane-force winds to sturdy hoofbeats, subway trains to a crowded playground, a hospital's ICU unit to London's Big Ben, the Jewish Shofar horn to the bustling city of Taipei. And, as icing on the aural cake, trumpeter Bobby Shew
's delayed but no less welcome entrance enriches "The Last Dance."
Personnel on much of the session consists of Gottschlich's trio (bassist Martin Kocián
, drummer David Halasz
) with guest appearances by Shew, Israeli percussionist Yogev Shetrit ("Fiaker Lied") and alto saxophonist Bruce Williams
("Time Will Tell"). Gottschlich opens the session with the forceful "Irmageddon," reprising a natural disaster, hurricane Irma, whose arrival Gottschlich recorded from the roof of the building in which he lived. "Fiaker Lied" depicts, in musical terms, a narrow pathway in Vienna that "fiaker" (the traditional horse and carriage) use. "Lied" must correspond in English to "path" or "street." Shetrit and Halasz replicate the steady clatter of hoofbeats and other ambient sounds along the pathway.
Kocian's arco bass emulates the mournful "Shofar," whose reverential tone counterbalances visits to the busy New York City subway ("Trainology") and laid-back London ("Time Will Tell"), on which Williams lends his "big solid" alto to the distant sound of chiming bells. The thump of a basketball on pavement suggests a playground in Miami, where Gottschlich finds himself "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" before moving on to the colorful streets of "Taipei" and then to an ICU unit whose challenging upheaval has Gottschlich "On the Brink." Moving on, it is time for Gottschlich and his fellow musicians to pack their gear for a trip home following "The Last Dance."
The leader's Found Sounds
provide a splendid runway for an album of mostly trio jazz, and while improvisation is not its pivotal element, Gottschlich is an able pianist who governs its moods and cadences well while keeping the spontaneity flowing at a high level. Kocian and Halasz do their part, lending suitable if not exceptional support. As for Shew, Shetrit and Williams, their appearances are brief but effective. An above-average trio session with a clever premise, marred ever so slightly by its concise forty-one-minute playing time.
Irmageddon; Fiaker Lied; Shofar; Trainology; Time Will Tell; Between a Rock and a Hard
Place; Taipei; On the Brink; A Last Dance.