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Jacques Demierre: The Well-Measured Piano

John Eyles By

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Pianist Jacques Demierre's 2019 must be judged a success because of the release of Willisau (Jazzwerkstatt, 2019) by his new quartet—alongside trio members Urs Leimgruber and Barre Phillips plus new member Thomas Lehn—as well as his first duo album Incunabulum (Herbal Records, 2019) with Hans Koch. By comparison, his solo recording The Well-Measured Piano rather slipped under the radar—a pity as, in its way, it is as innovative and noteworthy as Willisau and Incunabulum.

Recorded between February and July 2017 in Switzerland, at Yverdon-les-Bains and Geneva, the album's three tracks run for a total of just under an hour; the shortest, "Wind Motet," lasts fourteen-and-a-half minutes and the longest, "Dilute the Sky with Care," runs ten minutes more than that, durations which allow Demierre to stretch out and be ambitious about the soundscapes he creates. Credited as Demierre compositions, the tracks find him simultaneously playing at the keyboard and sounding the (unprepared) strings and pins inside, a feat which he makes sound effortless and natural.

However, there are some passages of play in which overdubbing and/or editing have been used; in no way should this be considered "cheating," as the album makes no claims to have been performed live; instead, such methods have allowed Demierre to envisage and perform pieces which extend way beyond what can be achieved by one individual alone at a piano, at times creating walls of sound which Phil Spector might envy.

All three track titles are taken from the book Monotonie by Simon Cuts, fittingly, as they all make reference to weather events; at times, "Wind Motet" resembles a passing hurricane, while the closer, "To Thank the Morning Rain" feels more akin to the calm after a storm. The Well-Measured Piano is as tumultuous a recording as any from a solo pianist. Breathtaking.

Track Listing

Dilute the Sky with Care; Wind Motet; To Thank the Morning Rain.

Personnel

Jacques Demierre: piano.

Additional information

Title: The Well-Measured Piano | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Creative Works Records

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