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Julie Sassoon Quartet: Voyages

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Julie Sassoon Quartet: Voyages
Not all voyages involve smooth sailing. Indeed, pianist Julie Sassoon's Voyages opens on a blustery note. It is a quartet outing—as opposed to Sassoon's 2021 solo set, When You Can't go Outside...Go Inside (Jazzwerkstatt), with the pianist joined by reedman Lothar Ohlmeier, bassist Meirad Kneer and drummer Rudi Fischerlehner. The opener, "Missed Calls," sounds like a prelude to battening down the hatches in its blustery beginning section, before Sassoon take an introverted solo during a lull in the squall.

This is Sassoon's partial template for this outing—a gregarious, elbow-bumping, jostle-for-position group dynamic giving way to the pianist's dark, searching piano interludes. The music displays a raucousness often juxtaposed against dark-hued ruminations, Sassoon dropping from a well-lit promenade with her quartet into a dank cellar, where she goes inward.

"Shifting" sounds as if it is signalling doom via bassist Kneer's eerie arco bass, leading into Ohlmeir's plaintive saxophone cries. Like every composition here—all from Sasson's pen—the architecture and the quirky arrangments of the pieces are unconventional, idiosyncratic—Sassoonian we might say. This unusualness makes for a compelling sound, the saxophone swelling out of the ambient dismay into anguish, then settling back down into rhythmic drudgery, an acceptance of sorts.

"Waltz with Me" brims with a joy of life, a voice of the collective expressions of the band members in the disc's cover photo. Sassoon's playing is particularly free here, bringing pianist Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures (Blue Note, 1966) to mind, minus a couple of horns.

"Melody" closes the set. It is rambunctious, free flying. Full speed ahead through the white caps and bow-dashing swells, until the wind dies, and Sassoon takes some time to consider, with deliberation, this part of her journey, anticipating, perhaps, a revival of the wind that doesn't reappear, leaving the tune to taper away on gentle piano notes.

Track Listing

Missed Calls; Shifting; Waltz With Me; Jerusalem; Outside; Melody.

Personnel

Julie Sassoon: piano; Lothar Ohlmeier: saxophone, tenor; Meinrad Kneer: bass, acoustic; Rudi Fischerlehner: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Lothar Ohlmeier: bass clarinet.

Album information

Title: Voyages | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Jazzwerkstatt

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