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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Saturday, 26 September 2020 17:30

Baldych, Courtois and Telderman - Clouds

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Dutch pianist, Telderman, teams up with Polish violinist and French cellist for their ACT debut.

This multi-national trio is comprised of Dutch pianist Rogier Telderman, Polish violinist Adam Baldych and French cellist Vincent Courtois. The group came together for the Sounds Of Europe Festival in February 2018, when Telderman was given carte blanche to form a new ensemble. The three musicians hit it off musically and personally, played more concerts together, and gradually started to experiment. Of note, each musician is a leader in his own right, and as can be heard clearly here, each has their own distinctive style when it comes to composition. "We have brought those differences to the point where we all feel comfortable sharing, writing," explains Telderman.

As you would expect from the line-up, the album can be broadly categorised as chamber jazz. All three musicians are primarily known for jazz, but have had exposure to classical music too. Telderman was classically-trained, Baldych was influenced by Polish composers who were also violinists, whilst Courtois had early exposure to a similar trio - with pianist Joachim Kühn - which opened his eyes to the possibilities of jazz-classical crossover.

The album open with Clouds, the title track, which is one of the highlights. The tune was composed by Adam Baldych, and is infused with a gentle melancholy. There's a lovely moment at the end of the tune, where Telderman comes back in with the most delicate of piano, and is re-joined by Baldych and Courtois as the melody resolves itself, offering a slight hint of optimism. Early Spring, another Baldych composition, is bursting with energy, as the new season promotes fresh growth. There's a restlessness and exuberance to the playing that reflects those themes. Floricel, written by cellist Courtois, has a more ominous tone at the opening but gradually reveals new layers of beauty, like the gradual opening of a flower.

Watch a preview for the album here:

Telderman, whose playful melodies have always impressed, contributes the more piano-driven Work In Progress. This piece sounds less composed - which may be implied from the title - allowing more room for improvisation. Baldych and Courtois both rise to the occasion, contributing some beautiful interplay as well as ideas of their own.

Baldych switches to renaissance violin on his own piece, Interlude, and the Courtois contribution, the dreamy In Love In Hanoi. The former sees Baldych playing solo pizzicato, whilst Hanoi demonstrates more clearly the different tuning of the instrument. the Beginning Of A Dream is another Courtois contribution. The lengthy opening features just Courtois and Baldych, and once Telderman joins, the piece becomes more restless and fragmented, as dreams do.

And So by Telderman is a more playful piece, and features a lovely solo pizzicato contribution from Baldych. Troubador is somewhat unique here, in that it was co-composed by Baldych and Courtois, and demonstrates the way in which this trio is finding new ways to work together. It has a more classical feel that some of the other tunes, and at two minutes feels all too brief. Au Desert brings the album to a close, a delicate piece from Courtois that offers lots of space for the three musicians to inject their own ideas. I loved this piece, and found it left me wanting more.

Kind Of Jazz loved Telderman's jazz trio album, Contour, reviewed here. This new album has a quite different feel, but demonstrates the breadth of his vision that was already apparent back in 2015. In Baldych and Courtois he has found two strong musician partners that not only share that vision, but bring strong ideas in their own right. Clouds is a fine debut, and we can only hope that this Trio continue to work together as Europe starts to open up again in 2021.

The album is out now on ACT Music.

 

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