March 20, 2023
Start Date: January 24, 2023
Final Price: $140.00 (PLN)
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Jan Harbeck - The Sound The Rhythm
label: Stunt, 2019
media: vinyl, format: 12"LP, number of discs: 1
black , singlefold
download code: no data
cat. no: STULP19021
Jan Harbeck: tenor saxophone
Eske Norrelykke: bass
Anders Holm: drums (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7)
Morten Aro: drums (tracks: 3, 5, 7, 8, 9)
Henrik Gunde: piano
Jan zum Vohrde: alto saxophone (8)
The charismatic Jan Harbeck's atmospheric game in the great swing tradition has many friends. He appears extremely stylish and as a musician who digs deep into his jazz and who knows the importance of presence. Only a few are able to blow so much soul into a jazz ballad like him. Thomas Michelsen wrote in Politiken: "We once had Ben Webster to awaken the soul. Today we have Jan Harbeck! ”And it is really strange that the 43-year-old saxophonist has not previously published a tribute to" Big Ben "who lived in Copenhagen for a number of years. It comes here.
“When I was young, I concentrated on what I was playing; now the music comes by itself; the sound and tone are the essence of me. It must be full-bodied and the feeling must be there. Webster was my first inspiration, and then Paul Gonsalves came. It's the tradition I love. It's about playing from the heart. It's a sound, a sound, a language, says Jan Harbeck.
The musicians on this album have been playing together since 2007, and the band has played with more than regular success around Europe. Henrik Gunde, the brilliant pianist, has been Harbeck's partner so many times that they have no figures on it. Together, Gunde and Harbeck received the prestigious Ben Webster Prize in 2018, and the prize concert's repertoire was largely the inspiration for collecting the music on this album. Four numbers are by Webster, relatively unknown but full of blues and swing. There is another Strayhorn number, Johnny Come Lately, the rest is Harbeck's own.
The two days in the studio also became the scene of a surprise, which often gives a session an extra kick. In this case, two drummers. Anders Holm recorded the first day, and Morten Aro arrived to put his drums up the next day. And he then played on two tracks, and new colors spread. Jan zum Vohrde is also a guest at Webster / Hodges I’d Be There. “The fine Webster ballad brings a special color and quality to the harmonies between everything and tenor. Zum is a champion. ”The quiet bass figures of Eriksson are important to Harbeck. He is on the beat and gives ample space. "We love the generosity of the music, and I hope that the sensuous and evocative space is transcended from the plate to the listener".
All About Jazz * * * * 1/2:
Jan Harbeck is a Danish tenor saxophonist whose debut with his quartet, In the Still of the Night (Stunt, 2008), received a Danish Grammy. At that time, Kresten Osgood was playing the drums. On the quartet's second album, Copenhagen Nocturne (Stunt, 2011), he was replaced by Anders Holm, but otherwise the line-up with bassist Eske Norrelykke and pianist Henrik Gunde was intact. On these two albums, the musicians perfected a stylish noir universe of softly swinging jazz with interpretations of gems from the Great American Songbook.
The Sound The Rhythm is the fourth album by the Jan Harbeck Quartet. It follows the collaboration with saxophonist Walter Smith III on Variations in Blue (Stunt, 2014). That album was significant because it began Harbeck's documentation of his own compositions with the quartet, and since then he has continued to explore his own voice through compositions.
Harbeck has professed a love for Ben Webster and Paul Gonsalves, and their way of playing ballads and swinging standards from the heart has seeped into his playing. He has also received modern impulses from George Garzone, whose advanced idea of shaping atonal lines without a fixed harmonic pattern has influenced his musical language, but it all began with Ben Webster.
Webster still looms large on The Sound The Rhythm. In 2018, Harbeck and Gunde jointly received the Ben Webster Prize and when they played their concert for the award ceremony, the seeds of the album were sown. It showcases Billy Strayhorn's "Johnny Come Lately," a Webster favorite, and four Webster compositions: "Poutin,'" "Woke Up Clipped," "Shorty Gull" and "I'd Be There." These pieces are played impeccably, adding new nuances to Webster's vocabulary of swinging lyricism, but the real highlights of the set are the five new compositions by Harbeck.
"Tail That Rhythm" plays on Webster's iconic "Cotton Tail," but brings the classic up to speed with perfectly shaped lines and a soft rhythm propelled by Holm's brushes and Norrelykke's airy walking bass. On the other hand, the tango ballad "Tangorrus Field" brings back memories of "La Rosita" from the quartet's first album, but this time Harback is telling his own story in a subdued, sensual drama.
Throughout the album, there is a carefully calibrated balance between ballads and up-tempo-pieces and lovely details to appreciate like the double drum playing of Holm and guest Morten Aro on "Woke Up Clipped" and "Shorty Gull," and the appearance of another guest, Jan Zum Vohrde, who adds his elegant alto saxophone playing to "I'd Be There."
While these guests add spice, it's the empathic playing of the quartet that is the foundation of the album. The four musicians play for each other and together they transform Webster's and Harbeck's pieces into their own language. It's not just a repetition of the past. The dissonant lyricism in the piano intro to the closer, "Circle," could only come from a post-swing period, but when the romantic voice of Harbeck's saxophone breaks through, the connection to Webster is established again. It's different and yet the same. That sound. That rhythm.
By JAKOB BAEKGAARD