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Nadje Noordhuis: Nadje Noordhuis

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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On occasion, it is worthwhile to look back on an artist's earlier work—perhaps one that has not been encountered and experienced. In examining Nadje Noordhuis' debut CD, one originally recorded in 2010, there are marvelous new gems to discover and reflections upon which to dwell and meditate.

Nadje Noordhuis is a superbly crafted and performed effort which has the Australian-born trumpet artist and her friends thoroughly immersed in a heavily textural, impeccably performed session. This is a recording of sublime taste and romantically-tinged elegance. There's no saccharine sweetness here, just beauty and none of it sleeping. Think cinema for an open mind and for a mind's opening.

Offering eight of her well-crafted originals and fronting a group consisting of a fine rhythm section along with violin (a terrific production stroke), Noordhuis gets right to the goodies with the beautiful "Water Crossing," a shimmering musical landscape featuring Noordhuis' gorgeous overdubbed flugelhorn calling over an endlessly streaming piano undercurrent. Pianist Geoffrey Keezer—a Grammy® winner and one of the most in-demand players on the scene (Chris Botti, Denise Donatelli, et al) —is the perfect partner for Noordhuis' compositions and sonorous ribbons. Here and elsewhere, Noordhuis demonstrates that she's in perfect touch with the textural content. Her improvised lines seem to float effortlessly and lyrically.

"Le Hameau Omi" is a melodically sequenced dance made even more special with Sara Caswell's violin play and Noordhuis' vocalesque solo. It's the kind of tune that ear-worms and is well worth the "discomfort." "Mayfair" looms as a darker, almost heroic presence—rhythmically and texturally bolder—where the trumpet and violin offer a fierce, almost martial melody before Keezer expands to solo as a more "outside" force. The fine interplay is similar on "Big Footprint."

Noordhuis possesses a drop-dead gorgeous trumpet and flugelhorn sound that is deep, pristine, inviting in tone, and highly introspective ("Magnolia"). It's Dom Perrignon tasty and luxuriously satin in touch. "Waltz for Winter" has Keezer with a yearning intro before Noordhuis and Caswell enter to reflect on beauty and the passing of time. "Le Fin" is a harder-hitting "end" with a faux, funky double-time hip-hop-ish groove. "Open Road" has Keezer setting up the vista before Noordhuis expands and all close out the session. Kudos are in order to bassist, Joe Martin, drummer, Obed Calvaire, percussionist, James Shipp and guitarist, Rupert Boyd for their highly-involved support throughout.

Nadje Noordhuis defies and certainly doesn't warrant categorization other than the fact that the artist, her associates, and her eponymous offering are a fine 2010 vintage wine worth uncorking. Cheers!

Track Listing: Water Crossing; Le Hameau Omi; Mayfair; Big Footprint; Magnolia; Waltz for Winter; Le Fin; Open Road.

Personnel: Nadje Noordhuis: trumpet, flugelhorn, compositions; Sara Caswell: violin (1-3, 5,6); Geoffrey Keezer: piano; Joe Martin: bass (1-7); Obed Calvaire: drums (1, 3-7); James Shipp: cajon, aux. percussion (2,3); pandiero (2); Rupert Boyd: classical guitar (2).

Title: Nadje Noordhuis | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Little Mystery Records

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