Home » Jazz Articles » Hearth: Melt

1
Album Review

Hearth: Melt

By

Sign in to view read count
Hearth: Melt
Four of the most exciting young improvisers on the European scene assemble for the first time under the name Hearth. In a cosmopolitan roster overflowing with talents who each possess a distinctive individual voice, Amsterdam-based Argentinean reedplayer Ada Rave joins with the Copenhagen-domiciled Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler, Stockholm-located Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and Trondheim-resident Danish saxophonist Mette Rasmussen. While improv sessions often thrive on no-holds-barred expression, it really is the collective which is the star on Melt.

Recorded in May 2019 at the Portalegre Jazz Festival in Portugal, the six cuts are uncredited, but might easily be mistaken for compositions due to their careful marshalling of texture and timbre and the unity of purpose on display; yet, characteristic of spontaneous invention, they still boast the unpredictability and vivacity beyond any score. Such attributes attest to a willingness to sublimate ego to cooperative endeavor. Extended techniques form a natural part of everyone's armory, even Draksler who belies the tempered nature of the piano through interior manipulations, to match the ear-catching sound worlds conjured by the multiphonics, plosives and preparations of her colleagues.

As the sole chordal input, it is often Draksler's piano which furnishes hints of structure, even though conventional markers of rhythm or melody are sparse. On "In Oscillation," her rippling tremolos buoy up the swell of a triumphal horn chorus, while on "Turbulent Flow" her gentle tolling forms the framework upon which layers of long breathy tones billow and settle. As those descriptions imply, Rave, Rasmussen and Silva often work as a unit, shifting patterns and extemporizing unisons in off-kilter synchronization which manifests itself in diverse ways. Oddly intersecting single notes introduce the opening "Fading Icebergs," while long tones coalesce into a lapping wave part way through "Tidal Phase."

But, inevitably with such accomplished players, there are notable individual episodes, especially on "Diving Bells," the longest and most varied track, which starts with Rave's corkscrewing tenor saxophone distortions, offset by Rasmussen's abrasive alto saxophone blurts. Later in the same piece Draksler's scattered keyboard stikes begin almost as the antithesis of a barnstorming-solo, with simple repetition which only gradually builds momentum and complexity before becoming subsumed in a litany of tinkling percussion, brassy trills, and cartoonish squeaking, with Rasmussen vocalizing through her instrument capping another striking passage.

But just like an elite sports team, Hearth demonstrates that stars deliver even more when aligned with squad goals.

Track Listing

Fading Icebergs; Tidal Phase; At Daybreak; In Oscillation; Diving Bells; Turbulent Flow.

Personnel

Susana Santos Silva: trumpet; Mette Rasmussen: saxophone, alto; Kaja Draksler: piano; Ada Rave: saxophone, tenor.

Album information

Title: Melt | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All 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 HELP
To 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.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Overtones
Doug MacDonald
Acoustic Burnside
Duwayne Burnside
Tone Paintings
Craig Davis

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.