243

Hubert Nuss: The Book of Colours

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Hubert Nuss: The Book of Colours Music is a treat for the ears, for the sense of hearing. But are the borders separating the senses permeable? Can Red Garland's piano notes be said to "sparkle?" Can Paul Desmond's alto saxophone have the sound of a dry martini? Are these metaphors, perhaps, based to some extent on realities along a continuum of sensory perception?

Quite possibly. Someone with the condition of synesthesia can experience flashes of color upon hearing a sound. Pianist Jessica Williams hears a particular musical note and sees it as a distinct color. Denny Zeitlin, a pianist also, goes into a sounds-experienced-as-colors synesthesia when he is locked into the zen flow of a musical performance. And maybe the experience exists, to a greater or lesser extent in everyone.

Hubert Nuss' The Book of Colours is a good argument for the semi-permeability of the membranes separating the senses. The German pianist is fascinated by colors and the nuances of the interplays (harmonies) of the hues, and he has crafted an painterly collection of sixteen tunes full of colors arranged into a gorgeous symmetry on this superb trio outing.

The set is composed of sixteen Nuss originals, short explorations of nuance, subtlety and refined, delicate beauty undertaken by the pianist and his trio-mates, bassist John Goldsby and drummer John Riley. In addition to a love of color, Nuss seems also to harbor a fascination with geometrical shapes, such as one might see in the view in a kaleidoscope, a symmetry born of the reflection of a jumble of irregularly-shaped shards; or in the facets of gemstones, on tunes like "The Amethyst" and "The Dark Diamond of Donezk." Then there's his interest in the beauty—via color and geometry—of stained glass, as on "Coloured Daylight Cathedral."

Stylistically Nuss' sound is close to that of John Taylor, or Marc Copland, with a touch that is gentle and cerebral, molding complex, Oliver Messiaen-ian harmonies and searching for deep and elusive truths in, for example, the majesty of the grand scale and silent galactic obedience to gravity on his "Galaxy NGC 300."

The Book of Colours is an enchanting listening experience, especially for those of a careful listening frame of mind. Nuss may not enjoy a high profile in the United States, but he most certainly deserves one. This CD, on a dynamic and busy record label, should help that cause.

Track Listing: The Three Doomed Men; The Colours of Tyrus Wong ; Galaxy NGC 300; Night Stars; The Pictures of Charles Blanc-Gatti; Alia; Mirror Universe; For Jamey; The Dark Diamond of Donezk; Another Kind of Paris; Coloured Cathedral Daylight; Barry and Ollie; The Art of Dominique Louis; The Water of Life; The Amethyst; Bloomed.

Personnel: Hubert Nuss: piano; John Goldsby: bass; John Riley: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pirouet Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Taylor Street" CD/LP/Track Review Taylor Street
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Real Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Real Talk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 20, 2016
Read "Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4" CD/LP/Track Review Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2016
Read "Endemic Ensemble: Tangled" CD/LP/Track Review Endemic Ensemble: Tangled
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)" CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Special Night" CD/LP/Track Review Special Night
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

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!