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The Inward Song is hardly the quiet, introverted recital of music that might be expected, given the album's title. While alto saxophonist Christian Weidner does throw in a few pieces that fit nicely under this banner, the music on this CD also demonstrates a great deal of range.
A case in point is the way the album begins. "St. Paul" starts off with Weidner and pianist Colin Vallon delivering angular unison lines on a blank canvas. Bassist Henning Sieverts and drummer Samuel Rohrer enter with a seemingly un-metered, wavy undercurrent of sound. The intensity just builds from there and reaches fever pitch, with Weidner exuding a John Coltrane-style spiritualism and intensity in his delivery. The follow-up to this performance couldn't be more different. This time, Weidner moves along with Sieverts, but their delivery has a delicate demeanor. Everybody takes their time, patiently expressing themselves and delivering the music with gentility and grace.
Over the course of the remaining nine tracks, Weidner continues to confound with unpredictable stylistic shifts from piece to piece. "Relief" is all about how opposing ideas can lock in with one another. Vallon's ascending ripples are placed against Rohrer's bass drum/snare drum beat, and the unison long tones of Weidner and Sieverts are elongated over them. Rohrer's groove takes greater shape when Weidner breaks away to solo and Vallon's piano has a hypnotizing effect throughout. "Penta," on the other hand, is a sublimely melodic jewel that showcases Weidner's more tender side.
As the program continues, Weidner presents a jittery rhythm section against poised and evenly placed piano chords ("Lyra"), a dirge-like display of stretched sounds ("Psalm"), and a searching piece built around a steady and hip bass line from Sieverts ("Drawn Ones"). The title track gives off a positive spirit and hopeful vibe from all the musicians and they take their time in fleshing out their thoughts.The Inward Song serves as a fine example of the wide-ranging musical ideas from the mind of Christian Weidner.
Track Listing: St. Paul; Abendlied; Relief; Penta; Lyra; Psalm; Poem For Ada; Drawn Ones; Ave; The Inward Song; Poem For Ada (Reprise).
Personnel: Christian Weidner: alto saxophone; Colin Vallon: piano; Henning Sieverts: bass; Samuel Rohrer: drums.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.