Reviews: The Triangle (2004)

Posted on jul 5, 2004 in Record Reviews | 0 comments

Most acoustic jazz pianotrios make the keyboard the central focus.In this one it’s the remarkable double-bass playing of the Norwegian Arild Andersen-a virtuoso who can make a plucked note sound as it might last forever. His musical awareness imparts logic and grace to both his own contributions and the ensemble sound of his group. Triangle is more animated and alert than it’s more ruminative predecessor Achirana. A few of the pieces have unexpectedly direct grooves and catchy hooks, several are romantic,broken-chord drifters echoed by abstract percussion-rustles, but the sunset-glow of Andersen’s bass warms everything – and if the prevailing atmosphere is still one of thoughtful chaber-jazz like the Keith Jarrett-like sprint on the uptempo Lines is an exhilarating exception. John Fordham / The Guardian / London March 5 2004 ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Sterke ECM-stemmer Vakkert norsk-gresk-engelsk samarbeid. «THE TRIANGLE» er som forløperen «Achirana» (2000) først og fremst en melodisk festforestilling, der Tsabropoulos’ klassiske klangbehandling, Andersens varme basslyrikk og Marshalls delikate trommespill på ny går opp i en uendelig vakker høyere enhet. Maurice Ravels «Pavane pour une infante défunte» i Tsabropoulos’ arrangement er et av høydepunktene i så måte, pianistens evergreen-aktige «Cinderella Song» et annet. Men trioen er heller ikke å forakte up-tempo, som i Andersens «Lines», der Tsabropoulos nok en gang dokumenterer at klassisk klaverbakgrunn ikke nødvendigvis dreper all «jazzfeeling». Dette er et europeisk samarbeid som står står seg bedre enn det meste. Terje Mosnes / onsdag 3. mars 2004 5:00 ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Elegant tupft … der klassisch geschulte Pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos mit der Rechten seine Kommentare in Arild Andersens tieftönende Wohlklänge – und zirkelt gleichzeitig mit der Linken unabhängige Linien. In die so offenen wie swingenden Strukturen zeichnet John Marshall mit Sticks und Besen feine Figuren. Das Trio, bewährt von Achirana, findet eine Balance zwischen Emotion und Intellekt, die The Triangle zum kostbaren Geschenk macht. Sven Thielmann, Stereoplay ———————————————————————————————————————————————- Das Dreieck im CD-Titel ist ein Hinweis auf die Gleichberechtigung der Musiker bei dieser Aufnahme: Bassist Arild Andersen führt sie zwar an, der griechische Pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos und der britische Schlagzeuger John Marshall spielen aber gleichermaßen tragende Rollen. Es sind weitgehend „Simple Thoughts“ – so ein Songtitel -, die die drei hier vertonen, aber formuliert sind sie voll Hingabe und Konzentration. Die einmalige Fähigkeit Marshalls, mit seiner stolpernden Snare das Tempo zu verschleppen und aufzurauen, wird von Andersen und Tsabropoulos zu schönen Ausflügen abseits der vorgegebenen Wege genutzt. … Nicht nur bei den acht Originalkompositionen, vorwiegend aus der Feder von Andersen und Tsabropoulos, sondern auch bei einem Arrangement von Maurice Ravels „Pavane“ gelingt das ganz vorzüglich. Rolf Thomas, Jazzthing...

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The Triangle (2004)

Posted on jun 30, 2004 in Discography, Leader | 0 comments

Arild Andersen: double-bass Vassilis Tsabropoulos: piano John Marshall: drums ECM 1752 CD 0440 038 1212 (3) Release: 16th February 2004 “The Triangle” referred to by Arild Andersen in the title of his 15th album as a leader for ECM is one that could be formed by drawing lines on the map to connect Oslo, Athens and London – home bases for the three principals here, musicians who between them pool a great deal of information and channel it into a “European” jazz of their own making. Much has been written in recent seasons about the relative merits of improvising on either side of the Atlantic, and much that Norwegian bassist Andersen would not subscribe to. Although often credited as one of the originators of a ‘Nordic’ jazz sensibility, Andersen’s own bands have been international for decades, and – way back in the early 70s – his muscular playing was toughened by working with American jazz giants from Johnny Griffin to Sam Rivers. Similarly, British drummer John Marshall acquired early recognition propelling prototypes of European jazz/rock including Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, Nucleus and the Soft Machine, yet the fundamental rhythmic impetus behind his work was inevitably ‘American’, and Marshall was proud to have studied with Philly Joe Jones. In Andersen’s current trio, however, geographical influences at play are subtly different. A central role is played by Vassilis Tsabropoulos, a Greek classical pianist who came late to jazz, and who began to improvise only while a student at the Juilliard school. His phrasing and touch are untypical for a jazz player. Jazz improvisers of course have long looked to ‘classical’ composition to expand their timbral and harmonic palettes, but when a classical pianist writes an arrangement of Ravel for jazz group – as happens on “Pavane” here – we are entering uncharted idiomatic territory. Tsabropoulos is composer of five of the nine pieces on “The Triangle”, all of which seem to cast the ‘piano trio’ genre in another light. As do his contributions to Andersen’s three pieces and the collective improvisation “European Triangle”. Andersen met Tsabropoulos in Athens in 1996 when both were playing in Greece in diverse combinations with Markus Stockhausen. “What struck me straight away was the fact that his exceptional classical technique never gets in the way of his jazz playing. And I also liked the fact that his improvising is generally not chordally-based. He’s more often playing independent lines in the left hand.” The trio made its debut four years ago with “Achirana” (ECM 1728), and both the disc itself (Tsabropoulos’s very first jazz recording) and the touring around its release drew much press attention. “Tsabropoulos has very little jazz timing in his phrasing, “Alyn Shipton noted in a concert review for The Times, “but his delicate lines, built of four or five note motifs take all their jazz feeling from the setting, with Andersen’s huge, warm bass tone and Marshall’s go-for-broke drumming adding the right ambience.” “Achirana”, wrote Ian Carr in the BBC Music Magazine, “contains one element completely new to my experience. Tsabropoulos, a protégé of Vladimir Ashkenazy, is the first classical pianist I’ve ever heard who can play jazz with real understanding and great imagination… This trio of virtuosi never over-plays, and the album is beautifully recorded. It’s an object lesson in artistry.” One of the great contemporary bass players, Arild Andersen was born in Norway in 1945. From 1964 onward he played with the leading musicians in his country and was a founder member, in 1967, of the Jan Garbarek Trio, soon to become a quartet with the addition of Terje Rypdal. Andersen...

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