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Pulque is an exceptional release from a threesome who spend a good deal of their time in the highly acclaimed “European Jazz Ensemble”. Frequent Euro-jazz poll winners, saxophonist Gerd Dudek, bassist Ali Haurand and pianist Rob Van Den Broeck are well traveled musicians who have performed and toured with a – who’s who of jazz musicians from all over the globe. Aspiring jazz musicians, listen up! It is recordings like Pulque that offer a few lessons here and there as these gents execute a mini-clinic while the listener will most certainly become enchanted with the near flawless integration of technique, arranging, composition, depth and periods of restraint. Pulque is music-art with a lot going for it......Perhaps akin to an impressionist or modern art painting that actually makes sense to the unwitting eyes of a casual art lover....Here, the Trio brandish a stylized approach while combining virtuous interpretations of a few standards such as an exotic and light-as-a-feather rendering of Monk’s “Round Midnight” led by Dudek’s simply gorgeous flute work or a pristine yet loose cover of Monk’s “Pannonica”. The Trio also breath new life into tried and true standards such as Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes” and the Washington/Young classic “My Foolish Heart”. Ali Haurand’s “Brother Joe” features Dudek’s lyrical, sweet toned and expressive tenor sax work riding an alluring and most memorable melody line. Here, Dudek injects a few Trane-isms through chromatics, linear movement and split tones while commemorating the spirits above with a truly illuminating performance.
Throughout, Haurand and Van Den Broeck effectively illustrate why they are one of the finest rhythm sections in the biz. Rob Van Den Broeck is a master at comping, restructuring melodies and inventive improvising while maintaining a keen sense of time, which works wonders with Haurand’s soft strumming fluency on acoustic bass. Haurand is a proven master whether offsetting the generally amiable flow while churning out a monstrous arco-bass solo on the title track, “Pulque” or displaying an overall commanding presence through deftly executed walking bass lines that seem so natural, you hardly detect his presence at times..... “Slow Motion” features Dudek’s clear toned, almost heavenly phrasing amid sympathetic support and memorable choruses from Van Den Broeck who is also the composer.
Every so often something arrives in your mailbox that knocks you off your feet. Well, Pulque could be accused of that as the music goes straight to the heart in all its magnificence. Here, perfection seems attainable as the individual pieces or components coalesce and paint a telling picture. The persuasiveness of exquisitely performed jazz music rings loud and clear! Passionately recommended! * * * * *
Gerd Dudek: Tenor and Soprano Sax, Flute: Rob Van Den Broeck; Bossendorfer Grand Piano: Ali Haurand; Bass.