All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Vana Gierig: Making Memories

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
German-born, New York-based pianist Vana Gierig was making memorable music long before Making Memories came into existence. This Berklee and New England Conservatory-trained ivory tickler has been turning heads with his own work, and through sideman stints with everybody from über-hip cabaret singer Ute Lemper to violinist Regina Carter, for quite some time, but no single project has been able to properly display the true depth and breadth of his artistry; that is, no single project until this one.

Making Memories is an expansive nine song program that highlights Gierig's compositional skills and pianistic acumen. Stating that the album contains a wide range of music is a bit of an understatement; it's more accurate to say each song contains a wide range of musical ideas. The album-opening "Declaration" embodies this ideal better than any other piece, moving from graceful- and-spellbinding solo piano to firm-time, fanciful territory to hand clap-backed high jinks to carousel rides to swing; and that's only a partial, reductionist description of this eleven-plus minute performance. Almost every number that follows also contains myriad ideas.

The title track, the first of many numbers to feature Paquito D'Rivera on clarinet, is music put through a global blender, with Brazilian and Middle Eastern strains presenting as the dominant flavors. D'Rivera's next appearance, on the alluring "Morning Cadence," is equally worldly, moving from an elegant chamber-esque setting to more exotic lands. A Spanish tinge enlivens this number and several other pieces on the album, but it's never too pungent or over-pronounced. As the program continues, variety remains the spice of life. "The Spell" is friendly as can be, with a lightly flowing rhythmic current moving beneath Gierig's piano and wordless vocals. Things heat up on "The Spiraling Spell," as D'Rivera and Gierig play for, with, and against one another, and the music takes a turn toward the reflective with the strings- enhanced "Rome."

This album's greatest strengths are long gaze compositions and holistic performances which serve as reflections of the leader's musical background. Gierig's experience(s) and unquenchable thirst for musical knowledge shine through at every turn.

Track Listing: Declaration; Making Memories; Texting While Driving; Morning Cadence; The Spell; The Spiraling Spell; Rome; Looking Back; Conversations.

Personnel: Vana Gierig: piano, vocal (5), hand claps (1, 4, 5), percussion (2, 5); Paquito D'Rivera: clarinet (2, 4, 5-7); Sean Conly: bass (2, 4, 5-7), hand claps (4, 5); Matthew Parrish: bass (1, 3, 8, 9); Marcello Pellitteri: drums (1-3, 5-9), hand claps (1, 4, 5), guira (4) ; Gene Jackson: drums (4); Vinicius Barros: percussion (1, 2, 4-6, 9), hand claps (1, 4, 5); Jane Hunt: violin (2, 4, 7); Wolfram Koessel: cello (2, 4, 7).

Title: Making Memories | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Enja Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Criss Cross CD/LP/Track Review
Criss Cross
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 22, 2018
Read So Far CD/LP/Track Review
So Far
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Jazz Triangle 65-77" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Triangle 65-77
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Glenn Gould in Russia: Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Webern, Krenek" CD/LP/Track Review Glenn Gould in Russia: Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Webern, Krenek
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31" CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Jeg roper til deg" CD/LP/Track Review Jeg roper til deg
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Without All the Chatter" CD/LP/Track Review Without All the Chatter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 7, 2017