2016 WhyPlayJazz (RS028), CD + MP3 Album Download
Mads La Cour (flugelhorn & eb-trumpet), Per Møllehøj (guitar), Tapani Toivanen (bass), Andreas Fryland (drums), Søren Gemmer (piano)
Recorded April 29th-30th 2015 by Chris Weeda at Fattoria Musica, Osnabrück, Germany. Mixed by Chris Weeda. Mastered by Darius Van Helfteren. Artwork by Mike Højgaard.
With a series of portraits fleshed out in melodic lines THE LARK unites personal experience and collective modern jazz exploration.
The second release from pianist and composer, Søren Gemmer, presents an elaboration on the trademark melodicism displayed on the internationally acclaimed debut album.
THE LARK features five distinct voices in empathetic interplay and in inspired solo efforts, establishing spacious as well as tightly woven structures. At the heart of it all are eight compositions; pieces that while being unmistakably Gemmer-esque, manifest an unwillingness to resort to established formulas.
Gemmer explains: »I had to produce melodies with enough integrity to stand by themselves. This change in emphasis came from my intention to portray a series of persons that have been part of my social reality in the last few years.«
Straight, angular, lyrical or crude lines abound within the songs, and they are all inspired by ‘certain someones’.
Trumpet and flügelhorn player Mads La Cour is featured on four compositions and two duo improvisations and graces the album with his trademark blend of lyricism and erratic extroversion.
Usually when so-called classical music is mentioned in an improvised music context, it’s to comment on the technique of a player – who is invariably a pianist. But with The Lark, Copenhagen-based keyboardist Søren Gemmer is after more complexity than mixing formalist technique with an inspired groove.
The music is an open form modern European Jazz, based on melodic themes but incorporating rhythmic irregularities, odd meters and group improvisation, which together create a wonderfully weird tonal experience. The decision to use condensed, relatively short pieces turns this album into an emotional rollercoaster, with themes, rhythms and splintered interplays somehow making a perfect musical sense. A few intimate piano solo and piano / trumpet duets are also present.
Slowly the overlapping ideas and motifs accumulate to a profound work of a mature and opinionated composer with a unique voice. Gemmer affinity with La Cour is quite impressive and both sounding as expanding each other idea, playing in almost telepathic interplay.
What 'The Lark' shows is a most distinctive composer and player who has the strength of vision to take all the other players along with him. Sometimes stern but always compelling.
very sophisticated music, fine interplay and an intensive melodic
Gemmer’s personality as a writer is stamped all over this set of arresting pieces that demand attention without ever shouting. The playing is effortless, always in service of the mood. An excellent set.
The Lark is a wonderful track that builds gradually, Gemmer's piano solo in particular setting things up admirably, allowing La Cour to release the tension just before the three minute mark. It is no exaggeration to say that the piece and the solo stand comparison with the likes of the late Kenny Wheeler, and the only complaint is I'd have liked it to go on longer.
This is a well-balanced album that makes for a satisfying listen. The mood can be brooding and intense, yet still open enough to shift and to allow some romance into the mix. [...] Gemmer has assembled a band that is both technically excellent and where the musicians also appear to enjoy playing together. This, alongside the high quality of the recording, contributes to the sense of space and dynamics in the music and makes for a highly enjoyable piece of modern jazz. Highly recommended.
An attention to the flow of melody prevails. The musicians are unfolding Gemmers intelligent contemporary jazz compositions. It’s the kind of jazz that’s ripe with detail. Gemmer puts forth a range of ideas and succeeds in tying them together. [...] Søren Gemmers The Lark is a very strong and recommendable album. An album, that builds upon the debut, yet appears as something new and different.
Die Besetzung ist offensichtlich bestens aufeinander eingespielt. Zwischen intensiv und entspannt, schräg und harmonisch ein gelungener Balanceakt. Kaufen.