Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Julie Sassoon: Fourtune

Duncan Heining By

Sign in to view read count
Fourtune is British pianist-composer Julie Sassoon's first quartet recording. Sassoon's musical approach draws in equal measure on her classical training and on a love of jazz and improvised music. This marriage goes far beyond the translation of a pianistic technique from one musical area to another but becomes something far deeper and more powerfully emotionally moving in her hands.

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 unfolds—from 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.

Track Listing: Cloud; To Be; This One’s a Boy; Wake Up Call; Expectations; White Notes (for JKM).

Personnel: 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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
Fourtune

Fourtune

Jazzwerkstatt
2016

buy
Land of Shadows

Land of Shadows

Jazzwerkstatt
2014

buy
Land Of Shadows

Land Of Shadows

Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.
2013

buy
Julie Sassoon: Land of Shadows

Julie Sassoon: Land...

Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2018
Read The Forest from Above CD/LP/Track Review
The Forest from Above
by John Eyles
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Imaginary Band CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Band
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Night CD/LP/Track Review
Night
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 13, 2018
Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "Live In Healdsburg" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Healdsburg
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Lala Belu" CD/LP/Track Review Lala Belu
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Glass
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 10, 2018
Read "Combo 66" CD/LP/Track Review Combo 66
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2018
Read "When It All Makes Sense" CD/LP/Track Review When It All Makes Sense
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "Decay Of The Angel" CD/LP/Track Review Decay Of The Angel
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2018