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There are times when bombast, noise and heavy riffs seem like musical perfection, and other times when beauty, gentleness and melody are exactly what's required. For those other times, Zeitenwende is an ideal choice. The second album from bassist Sebastian Liedke's Berlin-based trio builds on the success of 2010's self produced debut, To Walk In The Past, with another collection of tunes characterized by his considered and affecting compositions and the sympathetic interplay of his fellow musicians.
Liedke knows about noise and bombast, having formed a Death Metal band as a teenager, but there is no evidence of such musical antecedents on this album. His move from metal to jazzand from electric bass to double bassfinds him as a composer and player putting emphasis on the lyrical and melodic elements of his music. On Zeitenwende he's joined by two new trio members, drummer Lucia Martinez and pianist Felix Otterbeck, who give this music a slightly fuller sound than on the first album.
Martinez is constantly inventive, with a more forceful style than the trio's previous drummer, Lizzy Scharnofske. On "Bastian" and the opening section of "Form, Folgt, Funktion," she adds a touch of bite to the music, giving the tunes a more assertive feel but never overwhelming the lighter flourishes of her trio mates. Otterbeck's "Vio" matches the gently romantic mood of Liedke's own compositions, while the pianist's own playing is at its most affecting. While every composition succeeds in creating its own tranquil but unique atmosphere, "Sehnsucht" is the gentlest and most spacious of all the tunes; all three musicians deliver beautifully restrained performances that create a genuine sense of longing.
Zeitenwende is the product of three imaginative and selfless performers. It may only be 36 minutes long, but it's filled with imaginative musictunes that hold the attention and reward repeated listening with fresh nuances. Liedke is building an impressive body of work, deserving of much wider recognition.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.