One might describe this music as mournful and nostalgic, yet it contains a good-natured ambiance, a casual humour delivered with a swing.
Jazzline CD D77113
Paul Heller: tenor sax, flute, clarinets, bass-clarinet; Jasper van’T Hof: piano, synthesizer; Martin Gjakonovski: double bass; Bodek Jank: drums
Recorded at Hansahaus-Studios, Bonn, Germany, in May 2021
One might describe this music as mournful and nostalgic, yet it contains a good-natured ambiance, a casual humour delivered with a swing. Everyone is relaxed, at ease – of course they are: Their intercommunications are complete and expected, they understand each other.
The young Heller heard van’T Hof’s recordings and decided he wanted to use the pianist’s structural, conceptual skills specifically and his expressive inclinations generally. That is the emotional disposition that you will hear on the album.
Jasper Van’t Hof has been on the music scene for some years now, becoming a regular feature of jazz and World music and collaborating with musicians such as guitarist Philip Catherine and saxophonists Charlie Mariano and Archie Shepp.
He sometimes assumes the cloak of an impressionist, this being clearly illustrated in Track 1, Pas de Deux. He is seen as one of the better-known jazz pianists/keyboardists in Europe: he has recorded with such major names as American jazz pianist and composer Steve Kühn, Archie Shepp and bass player Steve Swallow.
Saxophonist Paul Heller also plays with mood changes – sometimes pensive, at others full-bodied, recalling the influence of Johnny Griffin on him, as he has claimed. Heller and van’T Hof interlace impressively on Track 3, Conversations – An Improvisation, demonstrating considerable, shared compassion in their empathetic meanderings.
The music sounds not new but renewed – a re-presentation of something heard before and therefore echoing a familiarity.
Reviewed by Ken Cheetham