…a set of original pieces that seem to worm their way into the ear, and once there linger as if to remind you to listen again.

Elsden Music 07

Casper Hoedemaekers: (double bass); Rob Brockway (piano)

Recorded April 2022

This is a quite lovely album from Casper Hoedemaekers and Rob Brockway in a set of original pieces that seem to worm their way into the ear, and once there linger as if to remind you to listen again. This is something that I have done with much pleasure.

Released on the Elsden Music imprint, the music is available digitally or on vinyl and presents six compositions, there are two versions of the solo bass piece ‘Die Silbe Schmerz’, that are carefully arranged for piano and bass without any imposed constraints on the musicians allowing them to take the music wherever their imagination leads them.

Hoedemaekers is a musician that that I’ve not encountered previously, but glad to make his acquaintance here. In addition to playing double bass, he also plays the tuba and is kept busy in the UK recording studios. As a jazz bassist he has a strong and pleasing tone on the instrument, and his timing and swing is impeccable.

Without dominating proceedings, he able to switch from guiding the music to dropping back to accompany pianist, Rob Brockway. This process is very much a two-way communication and the speed in which the musicians react to each other is impressive to say the least.

As such it is difficult to say that this is Casper’s record any more than the pianists (although Hoedemaekers did write all the tunes) such is the empathy and way the two contribute equally to bring the music to life.

The duo opens the album with the tentative and sensitively played ‘Tempelhof’ and follow this with the easy swing of ‘Zeeën’ on which Brockway takes a solo that just appears to flow effortlessly from his fingers.

In an abrupt about turn and delightful change of tempo, the pianist is at the heart of the ballad that follows. Titled ‘Voop Joop’ the music is taken at a very gentle tempo and every note form both piano and bass is placed with such deliberation and weighted perfectly that I defy anyone not to become totally immersed upon hearing it.

This is followed by a brief piece for solo bass in ‘Silbe Schmerz (take 3)’ with Hoedemaekers’s arco lines cleanly articulating the melody, and the enchanting piece is given a longer and more detailed exploration on ‘Silbe Schmerz (take 6)’.

This careful attention to detail is also in evidence on the title track that again just swings and unfurls at its own unhurried pace, while ‘Another Walk Around The Block’ picks up the pace to a casual stroll rather than displaying any intention of breaking into anything more strenuous, and once more the lyrical nature of the music shines through.

On initial listening, as much as I enjoyed the album, I found myself missing a drummer and awaiting the delicate swirl of brushes or gentle splash of a cymbal to point up the music.

However, with repeated hearings I have come to realise that with Heim, two is company and three would be a crowd.