Friday, April 24, 2009

CD of the Day - "Henning Sieverts: Blackbird"

CD of the Day
Henning Sieverts Symmetry: "Blackbird" (Pirouet) 2009

Released today in Germany, although recorded in December 2007 (by engineer Stephan V. Wylick) at Pirouet Studio in Germany, this challenging and ultra-adventurous CD features Henning Sieverts (acoustic bass, cello), Chris Speed (clarinet & tenor sax), Johannes Lauer (trombone), Achim Kaufmann (acoustic piano) & John Hollenbeck (drums).

"Blackbird" (yes, the title track is the Beatles hit, re-constructed in a medley with the traditional song "Wenn Ich Ein Vöglein Wär) demonstrates that smartly conceived compositions can have a captivating atmosphere and be a lot of fun at the same time. All other songs are Sieverts originals, except Charlie Parker's "Blues for Alice."

Henning Sieverts draws on the immense possibilities of the systematic and masterfully exploits these possibilities. With his ear attuned to continual change, Sieverts has made subtle use of symmetric material in the pieces on this CD. The music grooves, twitters, warbles, frazzles, and dazzles, absorbing and impulsive as only the most vibrantly-played jazz can be. And at the bottom of it all lies a meticulously conceived structure. The result: the seemingly artificial can be so natural. Something very rare to be achieved, indeed.

Chris Speed, when playing clarinet, quite often steals the scene. Hollenbeck is a killer. Lauer, a monster!

Born in 1966 in Berlin, musician and journalist Henning Sieverts has been playing cello since he was five. Sieverts has been moderating jazz programs as a freelancer for Bavarian Radio since 2003. Composing has always held a special significance for Henning Sieverts; he has hundreds of jazz compositions to his credit as well as many "classical" works and has received numerous awards and honours for his endeavours. HS has played with the likes of Benny Bailey, Jim Black, Till Brönner, Marc Copland, Marc Ducret, Paulo Fresu, Slide Hampton, Bireli Lagrene, Michael Moore, Ack vanRooyen, Nils Wogram, and Phil Woods. Sieverts can also be heard playing bass and/or cello on over 75 albums, including 10 under his own name. "Blackbird" is Sieverts' second album for the Pirouet label.

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