Thursday, July 1, 2010

Instrumental CD of the Month - "Pablo Held: Music"

Instrumental CD of the Month
Pablo Held: "Music" (Pirouet) 2010

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Here in this blog, back in December 2008, Pablo Held was chosen "Best New Talent of the Year" in the 30th Annual Jazz Station Poll (at that time also published in the Brazilian daily newspaper "Tribuna da Imprensa/Press Tribune") due to his work as pianist & composer on his impressive debut CD as a leader, "Forest of Oblivion." Now, two years later, Held is back with his second album, once again produced by Jason Seizer for Pirouet, and with the same trio mates, Robert Landfermann (bass) & Jonas Burgwinkel (drums).

The impact also is the same I felt after listening to his previous album. Held's talents only grew up and were perfected to an astounding level of creativity & powerful inspiration, making him the best pianist to emerge in the entire European jazz scene since another German genius, Jurgen Friedrich, appeared in 1998 with "Summerflood" (CTI). Maybe not coincidentally, Friedrich now also belongs to the Pirouet cast.

"Music" (50m45s) is the name of Held's new album, and the simple yet meaningful title expresses a self-confidence that Pablo Held has every right to possess. Completely without pretence, and playing with expressive ease, his trio relies completely on the music's inner strength. Music with its own sound and unique atmospheric mood.

Born on December 27th, 1986, Pablo Held has won the first prize at Nordrhein-Westfalen's "Jugend Jazzt" three times - in 1999, 2003, and 2005, the first time as a twelve-year-old! He has played with, among others, the WDR Big Band, Manfred Schoof, Paul Heller, and Niels Klein. Held studied in Cologne with the outstanding German pianist Hubert Nuss. His debut album "Forest of Oblivion" was highly praised by the international press. Now, at 23, he brings out his second CD, "Music" - and that previous remarkable profile is brought into even sharper perspective.

Pablo Held wrote eight of the ten tracks, with the trio reaching its peak on the #9, "Klartraum," that could be titled "A jazz piano trio symphony in 8 minutes and 40 seconds," unifying an indescribable whirlwind of emotions and colors, from Landfermann's arco bass work in the introspective intro till the explosive finale propelled by Burgwinkel. Not to mention Held himself, who brings together the best of Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, and still sounds like his own man. "Nearness," "Log Lady" and the reflective "Desire" are also noteworthy.

In his previous album, Held recreated tunes by jazz masters Wayne Shorter & Tony Williams, and by classical composer Federico Mompou as well. This time he gives new life to Olivier Messiaen's transcendental beauty of "O Sacrum Convivium!" (originally conceived in 1937 as a choral motet) and to Herbie Hancock's tribute to Martin Luther King, "I Have A Dream," written in 1969 for his final Blue Note album ("The Prisoner"). Not coincidently, HH is a soul-brother of both Shorter & Williams, with whom he played for decades, not only in Miles Davis' quintet but also in the all-star VSOP group and several other units. Jonas Burgwinkel's drum work on "I Have A Dream" is quite astonishing, in a fabulous trio interplay.

If you are in Germany, don't miss the next Pablo Held trio gig on August 20th @ Neusser Jazz Sommernacht!
For infos about Held's previous album, please check:

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