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...

36

Bohren & der Club of Gore: Piano Nights

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Of the many hard-to-define sub-genres of jazz, "dark jazz" may be the most challenging to classify. Exemplifying the category is Bohren & der Club of Gore's Piano Nights . The German quartet, whose members have a variety of doom metal origins, has morphed their earlier inclinations into a hybrid that has little to suggest the player's roots. Unequal parts of ambient, experimental and modern jazz, it represents the most radical career transition since Charles Lloyd joined the The Beach Boys.

Founded in 1992, Bohren & der Club of Gore have long had a following in Europe, recording eight studio albums beginning with the guitar and bass focused Gore Motel (Epistrophy, 1994). Minimalist-ambient pieces pervaded until the 2000 release Sunset Mission (Wonder, 2000) which saw one of the two original guitarists—Reiner Henseleit—replaced by multi-instrumentalist Christoph Clöser. The latter added a decidedly jazzier element to the group dynamic and as a result, his first collaboration is a largely undiscovered masterpiece.

Piano Nights is pastoral and desolate at the same time, seeing beauty through crumbling façades. The music rarely rises above a whisper yet even the silences take on an emphatic air. There is an ambience of mystery and quiet urgency in each of these pieces and the music requires patient listening. It is not until "Ganz Leise Kommt Die Nacht" that Clöser's quietly smoky saxophone seems to speak out of the darkness, elevating the tempo from exceptionally down-tempo to just very slow. Similarly on "Segeln Ohne Wind," the tentative upshift in tempo is reluctant to break into the light.

Though there is a consistency in the tone of these pieces, there are variations that present themselves in subtle ways such as the occasional mournful sax in contrast to the almost-cheerful aspects of the vibraphone or the somber spaghetti western flavor of Komm Zurück Zu Mir. Piano Nights aesthetic sense is part Brian Eno, part early Pink Floyd. Eerie, foreboding and weighty, often simultaneously, Piano Nights is beautifully austere throughout. It is an eccentric and stunning extraction of an erudite outer jazz experience.

Track Listing: Im Rauch; Bei Rosarotem Light; Fahr Zur Hölle; Irrwege; Ganz Leise Kommt Die Nacht; Segeln Ohne Wind; Unrasiert; Verloren (Alles); Komm Zurück Zu Mir.

Personnel: Thorsten Benning: drums; Christoph Closer: saxophones, fender rhodes, piano, vibraphone; Morten Gass: organ, vocoder, bass, synthesizer, mellotron; Robin Rodenberg: bass.

Title: Piano Nights | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Pias Recordings

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Fire Brigade Album Reviews
Fire Brigade
By Phillip Woolever
May 25, 2019
Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019