Euro Bassist Robert Landfermann Knows 'Night Will Fall' on Pirouet Records (REVIEW)

By Mike Greenblatt on Jan 06, 2016 01:50 PM EST
Robert Landfermann Bassist Robert Landfermann (Photo : Konstantin Kern)

Pirouet Records in Germany is producing some of the most way-out jazz on the planet. In the case of Robert Landfermann, you have a much sought-after bassist in the European jazz scene, so much so that he has been called "the man of the hour" by that country's World Service radio/television company. As a sideman, he is supremely empathetic and yielding, molding his deep imprint on whatever music he is asked to contribute to. For his ninth CD as a leader, his Pirouet debut introduces a new quintet who all coalesce around his compositional and instrumental prowess. Night Will Fall doesn't even try to be accessible. It's challenging. You have to work at it. This could be a deterrent or it could be an adventure--depending upon the listener's ear.

"Mottetu de Tristura" starts off this trip into the unknown with a group improv on a Sardinian folk melody (Sardinia being the second largest island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy). It's akin to an underwater excursion as things move real s-l-o-w, so slow, in fact, it almost stops. "Berg" is for the Austrian composer Alban Berg [1885-1935] whose compositional style combined romantic lyricism with the 12-tone technique of Arnold Schoenberg [1874-1951]. "Katarrh" has Landfermann in dialogue with the alto sax of Christian Weidner. But he's not playing bass: he's on violone, an ancient instrument somewhere between an acoustic bass and a violin. "Randnotiz" gives the drummer some (Jim Black) with piano (Elias Stemseder) and bass along for the ride. Here, the alto grooves with Sebastian Gille's tenor sax in unison.

"Rot" rolls with abandon while the title track is in three sections, a 10-minute dreamscape as Landfermann plucks and bows his way through a miasma of mysterioso spider-web intricacy. "Zehn und Acht" has the two saxophones battling it out. Closer "Arabesque" is the most accessible track as it's a roots-reverent cover of the great American drummer Paul Motian [1931-2011].

Elegiac, atmospheric, dreamy and chance-taking, Night Will Fall all over you if you give it a chance.

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TagsRobert Landfermann, REVIEW, Pirouet Records, Germany

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