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Live!

Artist: Christoph Stiefel

Date of Release: 01/10/2012

Catalogue no: SRCD 39-2

Label: Basho

Price: £8.99

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Isorhythm #4

2

 

Inner Language/Isorhythm # 19

3

 

Isorhythm # 2.2

4

 

New Waltz For Nina

5

 

Olympus Mons/Isorhythm # 28

6

 

Eliane

7

 

Pensar Positivo/Isorhythm #18

8

 

Cosmos

9

 

In & Out Of Order/Isorhythm # 15

 

 

 

 

‘Live!’ captures the trio (with bassist Thomas Lähns and drummers Lionel Friedli and Kevin Chesham) liberated from the restrictions of the studio in Saalfelden, Amburg and Munchen. Stiefel feels that this collection contains ‘rhythmic complexity but also soul and sensitivity. There is also quite a portion of wildness.’ The album summarises and develops eight years of work with the trio and finds the musicians reaching remarkable levels of empathy and interaction.

A sensitive touch and reflective mood characterises Stiefel’s work here, most notably the haunting title track. Sometimes, particularly on Olympus Mons, the approach is more tempestuous. Stiefel never allows sophisticated concepts such as Isorhythms to detract from the music itself, writing striking melodies and affecting harmonic sequences for which his rhythmic ideas serve as support or contrast. In addition to the angular groove of Isorhythm #2.2, there is the eloquent lyricism of New Waltz For Nina. Stiefel’s first musical interests were in blues and R&B and he draws inspiration from both within and beyond the jazz tradition.

This music is a thrilling first chapter in Stiefel’s relationship with UK audiences and an exciting advance in forging connections between the UK jazz scene and European artists. Stiefel will tour in the UK with German bassist Arne Huber and Kevin Chesham (drums)

 

Reviews

 

06/11/2012 Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann

A very impressive album overall and one that deserves to raise Stiefel's profile in the UK. “Live!” is eminently accessible and full of striking melodies and strong rhythmic ideas.

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04/10/2012 John Fordham, 4 stars****

Christoph Stiefel – a 51 year-old pianist, composer, arranger and producer from Switzerland is a rhythmically adventurous performer fascinated by the interplay of grooves. Several of the tracks include the Greek-derived term Isorhythm in their titles, referring to patterns of pitches against repeating rhythms that surfaced in 14th-century European music and in Indian forms. But there's nothing stuffily academic about these live sessions from 2011. The opening Isorhythm 4 launches a fast melody over a storming baroque-like left-hand figure, and Isorhythm 2.2 is a spiky, prodding theme against vicious rimshot cracks and a full-bodied bass counterpoint. Slow episodes like New Waltz for Nina, Eliane and the impressionistic Cosmos have a gentleness that reveal Stiefel's nuanced touch is equal to his up-tempo fluency. Some tracks storm off like a scary drive on an unlit road but then turn into a tiptoe through the forest, while Pensar Positivo and In and Out of Order have a playfully hypnotic bounce.
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04/10/2012 John Fordham, The Guardian

Some tracks storm off like a scary drive on an unlit road but then turn into a tiptoe through the forest, while Pensar Positivo and In and Out of Order have a playfully hypnotic bounce.

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30/09/2012 Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast

The band can be lyrical and rhapsodic as evidenced by Waltz For Nina, although at other times – the first four minutes of Olympus Mons, for example – it can sound like three men trying to exhaust each other in a physical work-out.

Overall, this is a very strong performance with all the right highs and lows, surges and retreats, in the sequence of pieces.

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01/09/2012 Jazzwise 4 stars****

..the trio infuses the set with an infectious, often funky adrenaline rush of momentum...

It's an astute release by London indie Basho Records at a time when the hippest jazz labels are becoming a little youth-obsessed. Just as contemporary piano trio fatigue seemed to be setting in, Stiefel comes along to raise the bar again.

 

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