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Sebastian Liedke: To Walk In The Past

Hrayr Attarian By

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One of the enduring allures of the piano trio is the intimacy it creates, something that German bassist/composer Sebastian Liedke does superbly on his debut, To Walk in the Past.

The record consists of 10 modal sonatas with rich texture, painted in dark sounds and lush tones. Eight are composed by Liedke, and two by pianist Dirk Flatau, and all share a similar theme that helps maintain the unity of the entire work. This, in no way, is meant to indicate that there is monotony to the disc. In fact, from the nocturne-esque "Ella" and the angular title track to the up-tempo "Hallo Frau Winter," the bluesy "Ein Stuck Berlin," and the cinematic "Tale of a Silent Karl," there is significant variation to maintain interest.

The pieces are minimalistic in structure, allowing ample room for improvisation, during which the trio makes as much use of silent pauses as it does of the notes. The resulting music is reminiscent but not derivative of the Ahmad Jamal Trio of the 1950s and 1960s, with hints of the modal exploration of Bill Evans. Liedke himself sounds a tad like Ron Carter, while drummer Lizzy Scharnofske's use of brushes that hints at the great Philly Joe Jones

All three musicians have occasional solos, Flatau more than the others, but the more interesting flights of fancy occur during the group interplay as, anchored by Liedke's melodic bass and driven by the quiet, yet persistent encouragement of Scharnofske's drums, Flatau weaves tone poems on his keys.

Overall, the improvisations, much like the compositions themselves, stay within safe and familiar territory, but are, nevertheless, tastefully innovative. Although this release doesn't break new musical ground, it is an enjoyable and thought-provoking opus that rewards close listening and whets the appetite for more from this highly talented ensemble.

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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