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'Luminosity' is Achieved by the Florian Hoefner Group on Origin Records (REVIEW)

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Feb 06, 2016 01:03 PM EST
The Florian Hoefner Group Florian Hoefner Group's 'Luminosity' is their best CD yet. (Photo : Courtesy Fully Altered Media )

Luminosity is when acrylic colors retain their freshness. Luminosity by the Florian Hoefner Group on Origin Records does just that as well, for it is here that the German-born pianist Hoefner, on his third all-original quartet CD, puts the Masters Degree he earned at the Manhattan School of Music to good use.

Hoefner, 33, must be as intense as his music. He composed all eight tracks while in solitude on and off the beautiful beaches of St. John's in Canada's far-eastern province of Newfoundland. He composed them with his quartet in mind (saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Sam Anning and drummer Peter Kronreif). The New York City Group has played over 100 shows together since 2010. After a Brooklyn dress rehearsal gig, they laid these tracks down with a freshness and intellectual curiosity to see just how far they could take Hoefner's compositions into the improvisational stratosphere. Longer and more complex than the Group's first two CDs, Songs Without Words and Falling Up, Luminosity shines bright.

It's tough to hum along on a groove in 12/8 time but "Newfound Jig" (taken from Irish folk music) might get your toes tapping (if you don't get too confused). Still, that's the fun. "The Bottom Line" has Blake's tenor sax in total unison with Anning's bass. "The Narrows" is well-named as Hoefner composed this little ditty with nary an inch above or below the one octave that separates its highest and lowest note.

So you can see that Hoefner's a great experimenter: things could get dense, complex, circuitous in getting from point A to point B, but, again, that's exactly where the fun lies. With influences like Keith Jarrett, Kenny Wheeler, Wayne Shorter, Brad Mehldau, Aaron Parks, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Chucho Valdes, Danilo Perez and Miguel Zenon, he likes the element of surprise. In fact, he's fond of saying he breathes between his pianistic phrases like he's still playing his former instrument, the trumpet. This young man has a long and zigzagging career ahead of him. There's no telling what he'll do.

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TagsFlorian Hoefner Group, REVIEW, Origin Records, Manhattan School of Music