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Sebastian Liedke: To Walk In The Past

Dan Bilawsky By

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Different people often have different thoughts of what a piano trio should be: some view Oscar Peterson-style groups as the archetype in this category; others, just as easily, point to Bill Evans and feel that his body of work is the alpha and omega when it comes to piano group interaction and chemistry; while younger, rock-leaning enthusiasts may turn their noses up at both of those legends, preferring the bombast-meets-jazz of The Bad Plus. No two people will have the same exact conception of the perfect trio vehicle, but it's safe to say that this type of group can't be pigeonholed into any one area.

Bassist Sebastian Liedke's Trio, for example, has its own ideas about the piano trio, and his group pares things down to essentials. Superfluous notes and unnecessary displays of technique aren't the point here. Nine of these ten track create an intimate space where gently moving single note piano lines float over a simple, but wholly absorbing, rhythmic base. Liedke has found simpatico colleagues in pianist Dirk Flatau and drummer Lizzy Scharnofske. Most of this music is covered in shades of gray—like the album cover—and an ECM patina is present on the large majority of these songs. Within this general frame of mind, the musicians still manage to evoke different emotions. "Ella" has a hauntingly sad introduction and a fragile, yet firm, quality. "Leaving Berlin" possesses a seductive charm and "The Beast In You" is somber and sentimental at the same time.

While the first few album cuts establish a specific direction and sound for the group, "Hallo Frau Winter" is a complete departure. The trio seems to be giving their own view of a McCoy Tyner-style burner as the song begins, but the music gives way to a bouncier feel that comes off like a Berlin-based view of Brazil. "Tale Of A Silent Karl" is underscored by an ominous, repetitive bass pattern and the piece gains more weight as Scharnofske and Flatau dig in. A slight Evans influence comes through on "Fluse Im Kopf" and the group even takes on airs of Argentina during "Leo." Liedke's bass line establishes the groove—in nine—and leads the way, allowing Flatau to fill in with charming little lines above. This song is Nuevo Tango-tinged music for the European set. When the trio arrives at their last two stops, they basically settle back into the comfortably moody confines established at the top of the program. While designating something as "mood music" often relegates it to "background music," that's not the case with music from To Walk In The Past. This is moving mood music for music lovers.

Track Listing: 04:15-A Morning on Hamdan Street; Ella; Leaving Berlin; The Beast In You; Hello Frau Winter; Tale of a Silent Karl; Fluse Im Kopf; Leo; To Walk In The Past; Ein Stuck Berlin.

Personnel: Dirk Flatau: piano; Sebastian Liedke: bass; Lizzy Scharnofske: drums.

Title: To Walk In The Past | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced


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