Julie Sassoon: FourtuneBy
The CD features life-and musical partner Lothar Ohlmeier on reeds, along with a remarkably strong rhythm pairing in bassist Meinrad Kneer and drummer Rudi Fischerlehner. From the outset, the sense is of a group where the primary virtues are mutual respect, empathy and a confidence in each other's abilities. Its gently punning title is no accident.
The record opens slowly and delicately with "Cloud" and a long introduction with piano and drums, the ringing tones of the piano contrasting beautifully with chattering cymbals. Here and elsewhere, Sassoon is aware of the musical value of silence and she uses the sustain pedal to fine effect. There is a feeling of being held until Ohlmeier and Kneer enter to state the theme of the piece. In fact, it surprises how one's emotional reactions fluctuate as the music unfoldsfrom reflection and almost puzzlement to sadness, quiet wonder and a tentative joy.
Kneer opens "To Be" with a series of sustained notes that lead into a solo with an almost Spanish feel and then to a brief duet with the piano before drums and then soprano sax enter. It becomes clear that the architecture and thematic development of these pieces is built in this way, that is as a series of transitions between solos, duos, trios and the quartet. There is here, and elsewhere, a song-like quality to Sassoon's melodies established first through the repetition and then elaboration of musical motifs.
"This One's a Boy" begins with a fragmented dialogue between Ohlmeier on bass clarinet and Fischerlehner. The feeling here is tense and edgy before the quartet pick up a riff with a strong backbeat before the tune again fractures, leading into a piano-led section with keening voice punctuated at various by drums, clarinet or bass. With wave upon musical wave rising and falling, the main theme re-emerges this time slowly and less forcefully. Kneer's ensemble playing on this track is quite exceptional. Again, on "Wake Up Call," Sassoon builds tension through the episodic nature of the composition, quiet and ruminative at one moment, a steady pulse the next, a frantic outpouring the next. "Wake Up Call" features Fischerlehner to fine effect, his solo marking a contrast with the wild group performance led by Ohlmeier on soprano and quieter passage that preceded it. The quartet return briefly to the main theme before the piece closes abruptly. "Wake Up Call" is perhaps the strongest composition on what is a very strong set rich in unusual rhythms and harmonies.
"Expectations" and "White Notes (For JKM)" both add trumpeter Tom Arthurs. "Expectations" is unexpected, even for a record so full of surprises. It opens almost ballad-like, tempting the listener to "expect" something more conventional but eventually explodes dramatically over repeating pedals from the piano and bass. "White Notes (For JKM)" begins with an exquisite trumpet cadenza and is the most simply piece compositionally. Arthurs' playing is heartfelt and deeply affecting and makes for a perfect close to a near perfect record.
Musical life in her adopted home of Berlin clearly suits Sassoon. Always a distinctive and bold voice as a performer and composer, Fourtune finds her matched with four strong, individual but sympathetic musicians able to meet the challenges of her music and realise her vision.
Cloud; To Be; This One’s a Boy; Wake Up Call; Expectations; White Notes (for JKM).
Julie Sassoon piano; Lothar Ohlmeier soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Meinrad Kneer bass; Rudi Fischerlehner drums; Tom Arthurs trumpet on “Expectations” and “White Notes (for JKM)” only.
Title: Fourtune | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Jazzwerkstatt
Post a comment about this album
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZAll About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELPTo expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
About Julie Sassoon
Instrument: PianoArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists