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Sunland

Olivier Le Goas

Sunland

Price: € 14.95
Format: CD
Label: Double Moon Records
UPC: 0608917144321
Catnr: DMCHR 71443
Release date: 22 March 2024
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Label
Double Moon Records
UPC
0608917144321
Catalogue number
DMCHR 71443
Release date
22 March 2024

"... not only proof that the jazz trio theme is never exhausted, but also that this is certainly one of the most exciting trios currently active. Grandiose! ..."

Hören & Fühlen, 05-4-2024
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About the album

The French drummer Olivier le Goas is one of the busiest musicians in his country. He has had his own bands for 35 years, and at the same time he has played with pianist Bojan Zulfikarpasic, the big band of pianist Laurent Cogny, bassist Jean-François Jenny-Clark, pianists Benoit Delbecq and Jean-Michel Pilc, trumpeters Kenny Wheeler, Avishai Cohen and Charles Tolliver, and guitarist Ben Monder. His own bands have been filled with such illustrious musicians as John Abercrombie, Ralph Alessi, Drew Gress, Manu Codjia, Nir Felder, Kevin Hays, John Escreet and Larry Grenadier. He is now presenting a new trio on "Sunland", which includes bassist Lukas Traxel and pianist Kristjan Randalu.

"The album should have been recorded years ago, but the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in our plans," le Goas sighed. In May 2023, the three musicians finally went to the legendary Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg to record twelve songs that the drummer composed especially for this line-up. Tricky meters ("Good to be Back", "Life on Mars/Book of Dreams", "Mirage") play just as important a role as songs inspired by folk songs ("E. Song", "Key Song") and multithematic songs ("A Song in a Song", "Morning Light", "Cross the Undangered Species").

"The 'Key Song‘ was inspired by Keith Jarrett's folksy compositions," le Goas explained. “Both melodies work like question and answer. This structure enables a very centered sound, in which the piano solo conveys a completely different impression." The Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu – winner of the solo piano competition of the Montreux Jazz Festival 2002 – knows how to take advantage of such an opportunity.

"Residual Time" uses principles developed by Arnold Schönberg to create a fluid theme, in which the melody and the bass react to each other. "I regularly went to the New York Public Library during my time in New York twenty years ago," le Goas said. "I discovered Arnold Schönberg's unprecedented 'Structural Functions of Harmony‘ there. The second chapter ‘Principles of Harmony’ is mainly about progressions in the bass line. The idea of removing the bass line from the accompaniment function and composing a second melody for the bass was like an enlightenment for me."

But sometimes the drummer gets inspired as if out of nowhere. “One morning I woke up with a tune in my head,” he recalled. "This resulted in 'Surface' with its many reharmonizations. Similar to Pat Metheny's 'Lakes‘, I composed the piece as an exercise in which the melodic motif is changed again and again, both in terms of its length and key. My goal was to compose a piece that has a certain freshness from beginning to end."

On the other hand, the lively and rhythmically extremely tricky opener "Good to be Back" is based on a classic motif. “The song was directly inspired by the first movement of Vivaldi's 'Concerto for two violins in A minor‘,” le Goas stated. "The concert is full of energy. My theme spans a sequence of complex meters, including a 21/8 beat, while the bass follows its own rhythmic line, which is also constantly changing.”

Olivier le Goas could talk about every song in this way – and does so in the album's liner notes – but the beauty of his trio's music is that you can enjoy it without any explanation. The vitality of the three musicians – Lukas Traxel has so far been heard primarily in the trio of pianist Marie Krüttli, but also recorded his first own album with Otis Sandsjö and Moritz Baumgärtner last year – makes "Sunland" not only a sunny affair, but also makes the three-man band a trio of a special European class.

Der französische Schlagzeuger Olivier le Goas zählt zu den umtriebigsten Musikern seines Landes. Seit 35 Jahren unterhält er eigene Bands, parallel dazu spielte er mit dem Pianisten Bojan Zulfikarpasic, der Big Band des Pianisten Laurent Cogny, dem Bassisten Jean-François Jenny-Clark, den Pianisten Benoit Delbecq und Jean-Michel Pilc, den Trompetern Kenny Wheeler, Avishai Cohen und Charles Tolliver sowie dem Gitarristen Ben Monder. In seinen eigenen Bands tummelten sich so illustre Musiker wie John Abercrombie, Ralph Alessi, Drew Gress, Manu Codjia, Nir Felder, Kevin Hays, John Escreet und Larry Grenadier. Jetzt stellt er auf „Sunland“ ein neues Trio vor, zu dem der Bassist Lukas Traxel und der Pianist Kristjan Randalu gehören.

„Das Album hätte eigentlich schon vor Jahren aufgenommen werden sollen, aber die Corona-Pandemie hat uns zurückgeworfen“, seufzt le Goas. Im Mai 2023 gingen die drei Musiker schließlich in die legendären Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg, um zwölf Songs aufzunehmen, die der Schlagzeuger extra für diese Besetzung geschrieben hat. Dabei spielen vertrackte Metren („Good to be Back, „Life on Mars/Book of Dreams“, „Mirage“) eine genauso wichtige Rolle wie von Folk Songs inspirierte Nummern („E. Song“, „Key Song“) und multithematische Songs („A Song in a Song“, „Morning Light“, „Cross the Undangered Species“).

„Der ‚Key Song‘ ist von Keith Jarretts folksy compositions inspiriert worden“, erläutert le Goas. „Beide Melodien funktionieren wie Frage und Antwort. Diese Struktur erlaubt einen sehr zentrierten Sound, bei dem das Klaviersolo wiederum einen ganz anderen Eindruck vermittelt.“ Der estnische Pianist Kristjan Randalu - Preisträger des Solo-Piano-Wettbewerbs des Montreux Jazz Festivals 2002 - weiß eine solche Chance natürlich zu nutzen.

„Residual Time“ nutzt Prinzipien von Arnold Schönberg, um ein fließendes Thema entstehen zu lassen, in dem die Melodie und der Bass auf einander reagieren. „Während meiner Zeit in New York vor zwanzig Jahren war ich ein regelmäßiger Gast der New York Public Library“, erzählt le Goas. „Dort entdeckte ich Arnold Schönbergs beispiellose ‚Strukturelle Funktionen der Harmonie‘. Im zweiten Kapitel ‚Prinzipien der Harmonie‘ geht es vornehmlich um Fortschreitungen im Bass. Die Idee, die Basslinie aus der Begleitfunktion zu lösen und eine zweite Melodie für den Bass zu komponieren, war wie eine Erleuchtung für mich.“

Manchmal trifft die Inspiration den Schlagzeuger aber auch wie aus dem Nichts. „Eines Morgens wachte ich mit einer Melodie im Kopf auf“, erinnert er sich. „Daraus ist ‚Surface‘ mit seinen vielen Reharmonisierungen entstanden. Ähnlich wie Pat Methenys ‚Lakes‘ schrieb ich das Stück wie eine Übung, in der das melodische Motiv immer wieder verändert wird, sowohl was seine Länge als auch die Tonart angeht. Mein Ziel war es, ein Stück zu komponieren, das von Anfang bis Ende über eine gewisse Frische verfügt.“

Der muntere und rhythmisch äußerst trickreiche Opener „Good to be Back“ geht dagegen auf ein klassisches Motiv zurück. „Der Song wurde direkt vom ersten Satz von Vivaldis ‚Konzert für zwei Violinen in a-moll‘ inspiriert“, sagt le Goas. „Das Konzert steckt voller Energie. Mein Thema erstreckt sich über eine Folge von komplexen Metren, darunter ein 21/8-Takt, während der Bass seiner eigenen rhythmischen Linie, die sich ebenfalls ständig ändert, folgt.“

So könnte Olivier le Goas über jeden Song referieren - und tut das in den Liner Notes des Albums auch -, das Schöne an der Musik seines Trios ist aber, dass man sie auch ohne jegliche Erklärungen genießen kann. Die Vitalität der drei Musiker - Lukas Traxel war bislang vornehmlich im Trio der Pianistin Marie Krüttli zu hören, hat aber im letzten Jahr auch sein erstes eigenes Album mit Otis Sandsjö und Moritz Baumgärtner aufgenommen - macht „Sunland“ nicht nur zu einer sonnigen Angelegenheit, sondern macht die Dreierbande zu einem Trio der europäischen Sonderklasse.

Artist(s)

Kristjan Randalu (piano)

Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu makes his ECM debut with a striking album of his own rigorous-yet-lyrical music, sensitively played by a group formed especially for this recording, with US guitarist Ben Monder and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari. The trio line-up was suggested by producer Manfred Eicher after hearing Randalu’s 2012 duo recording with Monder, Equilibrium.The featured compositions on Absence are robust, and in the past Randalu has played them also as solo piano pieces. In this session recorded in Pernes-les-Fontaines in the south of France, their structures are prised open. Guitar and drums subtly illuminate the pieces from inside, casting light on their originality. Among other attributes, Monder and Ounaskari are outstanding colourists and textural players, and they bring out much of the...
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Estonian pianist Kristjan Randalu makes his ECM debut with a striking album of his own rigorous-yet-lyrical music, sensitively played by a group formed especially for this recording, with US guitarist Ben Monder and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari. The trio line-up was suggested by producer Manfred Eicher after hearing Randalu’s 2012 duo recording with Monder, Equilibrium.The featured compositions on Absence are robust, and in the past Randalu has played them also as solo piano pieces. In this session recorded in Pernes-les-Fontaines in the south of France, their structures are prised open. Guitar and drums subtly illuminate the pieces from inside, casting light on their originality. Among other attributes, Monder and Ounaskari are outstanding colourists and textural players, and they bring out much of the fine detail implied in Randalu’s writing with inspired improvising.
Like much good music, Randalu’s resists capsule summary. Markku Ounaskari has observed that “Kristjan’s music is really a world of its own.” As an improviser of prodigious technique, once described by Herbie Hancock as “a dazzling piano player”, Randalu’s affinities are with the jazz musicians, but the forms and dynamics of his pieces also reflect a discerning structural sense, and he has cited composers Erkki-Sven Tüür and Tõnu Kõrvits among his mentors. Kristjan Randalu’s capacity to move between genres and disciplines is rare: his itinerary in recent months, for instance, has found him premiering new music of his own with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, performing Arvo Pärt’s Credo with Kristjan Järvi and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and also playing duets with Dave Liebman. There are not many contemporary players with this kind of range.
Born into a musical family in Estonia in 1978, Randalu grew up in Germany. Both his parents are professional classical pianists, and all of his early music training was purely classical. Hearing Chick Corea’s Inside Out at the age of 13 changed some of his priorities: “It seemed to me so perfect that I thought at first that it must be all notated. And it had all this rhythmic energy, and sound-wise, harmonically and colour-wise was very interesting to me. At that point I had almost no historical jazz references at all - no early Miles, even, no Coltrane – I would learn about all of that later. But I felt motivated to create my own music with piano and synthesizer and sequencer and soon had my first band. By this point I had already been performing classical music for years and was playing at a serious level, but there was a gap between practicing my Liszt and Chopin and beginning to deal actively with jazz…” The gap was bridged in the following years by studies with a number of notable pianists, including John Taylor and Django Bates. A scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music allowed plenty of opportunities to hear New York’s improvisers at first hand, Ben Monder amongst them.
“Later it happened on a couple of occasions that our groups – Ben’s group and my group -- played one after the other at festivals in Germany and we talked several times about doing something together. But it didn’t happen until a festival organizer in Estonia proposed a duo concert….” Markku Ounaskari and Kristjan Randalu first played opposite each other in a concert series organized by German radio station NDR. Ounaskari was then playing with the second edition of his Kuára group with Trygve Seim on saxes. When Seim formed his Helsinki Songs project a couple of years later, he invited both Ounaskari and Randalu to be part of it (an ECM album with Seim, Randalu, Ounaskari and Mats Eilertsen is in preparation).
Ounaskari has played with all the major Finnish jazz players and with many international jazz musicians including Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko and Marc Ducret. In addition to his Kuára recording with Samuli Mikkonen and Per Jørgensen, exploring Russian psalms and Fenno-Ugrian folk songs in an improvisational context, Markku Ounaskari appears on several ECM recordings with folk singer and kantele player Sinikka Langeland, including Starflowers, The Land That Is Not, The Half-Finished Heaven and The Magical Forest. A musician in the New York City area for over 30 years, Ben Monder has performed with a wide variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, Billy Childs, Andrew Cyrille, George Garzone, Paul Motian, Maria Schneider, and Marshall Crenshaw. He also contributed guitar parts to the final David Bowie album, Blackstar. In addition to his own ECM album Amorphae, with Paul Motian, Andrew Cyrille and Pete Rende, Monder appears on Theo Bleckmann’s Elegy and Paul Motian’s Garden of Eden. Downbeat "The bandleader is a pillar of stability. He clearly is capable of breathtaking displays of technique and showmanship, but employs challenging runs with a noble conservatism."

All About Jazz "Absence, Randalu's ECM debut, ricochets its motifs and dark, rhythmic overtones with a singular sense of structure and improvisation."

The Herald "Randalu’s always melodic, ever exploring style is a delight"
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Olivier le Goas (drums)

Born in Oise France Jazz drummer, and composer Olivier Le Goas has performed with numerous great musician such as: Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Marc Ducret, Bojan Z, Dominique Di Piazza, Laurent Cugny « Light » Big Band, Linley Marthe, David Chevallier, Ben Monder, Jason Linder, Tim Lefevre, Avishai Cohen (trp), Jacques Schwartz-Bart, Jim Black, Andrew d’Angelo…
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Born in Oise France Jazz drummer, and composer Olivier Le Goas has performed with numerous great musician such as: Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Marc Ducret, Bojan Z, Dominique Di Piazza, Laurent Cugny « Light » Big Band, Linley Marthe, David Chevallier, Ben Monder, Jason Linder, Tim Lefevre, Avishai Cohen (trp), Jacques Schwartz-Bart, Jim Black, Andrew d’Angelo…
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Lukas Traxel (double bass)

Composer(s)

Olivier le Goas (drums)

Born in Oise France Jazz drummer, and composer Olivier Le Goas has performed with numerous great musician such as: Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Marc Ducret, Bojan Z, Dominique Di Piazza, Laurent Cugny « Light » Big Band, Linley Marthe, David Chevallier, Ben Monder, Jason Linder, Tim Lefevre, Avishai Cohen (trp), Jacques Schwartz-Bart, Jim Black, Andrew d’Angelo…
more
Born in Oise France Jazz drummer, and composer Olivier Le Goas has performed with numerous great musician such as: Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Marc Ducret, Bojan Z, Dominique Di Piazza, Laurent Cugny « Light » Big Band, Linley Marthe, David Chevallier, Ben Monder, Jason Linder, Tim Lefevre, Avishai Cohen (trp), Jacques Schwartz-Bart, Jim Black, Andrew d’Angelo…
less

Press

... not only proof that the jazz trio theme is never exhausted, but also that this is certainly one of the most exciting trios currently active. Grandiose! ...
Hören & Fühlen, 05-4-2024

From the very first note of the first piece, the music sounds like a wake-up call: full of verve and energy, bright and shimmering....
bayerische Rundfunk Cd of the month, 19-3-2024

... This trio makes music with great verve and finesse in the twelve songs by le Goas, in which there is much to discover.
nrwjazznet, 09-4-2024

... In the liner notes to "Sundance", le Goas talks about each song in a similarly lively way - he doesn't need to, because his music is catchy even without any explanations.
Jazzthing, 26-3-2024

The great strength of this album lies not only in the great compositions of the bandleader and his unconventional band leadership, but also in the interplay between all the musicians...
jazzfun, 24-3-2024

Challenging music that is an adventure to listen to. I enjoyed the ride!  -  Peter Erskine

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