141

Kurt Ellenberger Trio: Songs From The Far West

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Kurt Ellenberger has turned in a dandy here! With a nod to the Bill Evans’ school of piano or perhaps similar in “presentation” to some of Steve Kuhn’s recent work for ECM, comparisons or analogies do not allude to any sense of derivation........... Beautifully recorded at the Lawrence University Chapel in Appleton Wisconsin, Ellenberger and his super fine rhythm section induce or perhaps capture the aura of a morning sunrise on a gorgeous spring day somewhere in paradise. Songs From The Far West is a first class effort which is quite evident upon the opening piece titled, “Larkspur In Aspen”. Here, Ellenberger employs gobs of lovely harmonics, lush melodies and poignant phrasing as he brandishes a distinctive voice which, becomes apparent within minutes or perhaps seconds into the recording. The sympathetic if not keenly intuitive rhythm section consisting of bassist David Dunn and drummer Dane Richeson propel Ellenberger as he executes swirling clusters, lyrically rich thematic statements along with his deeply personalized and somewhat combustible attack. Throughout, this Trio perform as tight and cohesive as any working piano trio out there which includes the infamous Keith Jarrett and his superstar rhythm section. Ellenberger is a painter of unimaginable places! The compositions are meaningful, tightly coordinated yet maintain a loose if not relaxed feel.

They generate some heat on “Herr Mann’s Fell’d” as Ellenberger implements a few classical-style yet harmonically inclined chord progressions and climactic melodic development as the rhythm section shift meter, counterbalance the tonalities and provide upbeat “swing” grooves. On “Internal Presence”, Ellenberger is somewhat pensive yet always finds a bright side without becoming overly morose or austere. With “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, the trio swing through rich harmonies as Ellenberger remains intently focused upon thematic development yet displays his ingenuity as a lead soloist through well conceived single note leads intermingled with rapid left – right hand voicings. Many of these pieces unfold in a dramatic sense. The trio have a blast with tempi while frequently altering a motif or injecting brief solos, which often conforms to the guts of the composition. The closer, “Far West” is a hybrid swing, ballad – a mover and a shaker featuring prominent themes and memorable melodies as Ellenberger is a master of “manipulating” or toying with melody.

Songs From The Far West is a superb outing as accolades and praise should not stand as a substitute for the thoroughly enjoyable if not mesmerizing listening experience. This one is guaranteed to reside on the top shelf when or if you decide to remove it from your CD player. One of the major surprises of 1999........ Recommended to all! * * * * *

Web: www.challenge.nl

| Record Label: a/l/l | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Around The Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Around The Horn
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Real Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Real Talk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 20, 2016
Read "The Getaway" CD/LP/Track Review The Getaway
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!