225

Soren Kjaergaard: Optics

By

Sign in to view read count
The title track of Optics provides a good overview to this beautiful and fascinating recording. While some young musicians seek to capture their audience with a fusillade of notes, pianist Sïren Kjaergaard's trio proceeds with the flowing confidence of a Zen master. That's not to say that Optics doesn't have its intense, passionate or loud moments, but the balance of moods and dynamics comes from a self-assurance that is not doctrinaire or pretentious. "Optics" takes on a unique three-part (yet seamless) form. It starts with tremolos in the piano and drums with the bass joining the piano for a simple eight-note question followed by a seven-note answer. Out of mystical Messiaen-sounding chords emerges bassist Ben Street's gently singing solo. The third major part of this piece is a kaleidoscopic jazz waltz that functions as a coda and ends as subtly as it began. The musical point being made, nothing else needs to be said.

Throughout the recording the balance and blurring of the composed and improvised is splendidly accomplished. Drummer Andrew Cyrille is arguably best known for his explosive work with Cecil Taylor starting in the 1960s. Street, much younger than Cyrille, has been involved with a slightly calmer improvising scene that includes guitarists Ben Monder and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Kjaergaard is the bridge between them: sometimes he plays the piano fiercely and percussively while at other times the space between the longer held, soft chords gives the bass voice a lot of space through which to sing.

Kjaergaard's respect for Cyrille and Cecil Taylor becomes particularly clear in two pieces: "Cyrille Surreal," a series of hypnotic chord sequences for Cyrille to groove and solo upon, and "Work of Art," which channels that intense 1960s Taylor/Cyrille energy in focused, concise composition.

Both "Elegy" and "Radio House Requiem" might be described as ballads and they are both gorgeous CD highlights. The latter does portray a sense of loss, but the sophisticated harmonies played at a slow, steady tempo make for riveting listening.

With eight tracks from three to thirteen minutes in length (at a total running time of approximately 56 minutes) and varying greatly in sonic and emotional dynamics, repeated listening will reveal more detail.

Track Listing: Optics; Dear Mr. Sear; Cyrille Surreal; Elegy; Mallets; Gyamtso; Work of Art; Radio House Requiem.

Personnel: Soren Kjaergaard: piano; Ben Street: bass; Andrew Cyrille: drums.

Title: Optics | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "A Thing Called Joe" CD/LP/Track Review A Thing Called Joe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete NPR Jazz Alive! Recording" CD/LP/Track Review Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete...
by John Kelman
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Baby Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Baby Talk
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "682/681" CD/LP/Track Review 682/681
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Each Edge of the Field" CD/LP/Track Review Each Edge of the Field
by John Eyles
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Flux Reflux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.