Pablo Held Trio - Recondita Armonia
(Pirouet Records. PIT3085. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
There has long been a healthy cross-fertilisation between jazz and classical music. Classical composers such as Stravinsky and Shostakovich incorporated jazz structures and rhythms into their compositions, whilst jazz musicians have been influenced by many classical composers. Some musicians like Wynton Marsalis and Keith Jarrett have managed to straddle both worlds.
The Pablo Held Trio have created a record which itself sits on the border of these two traditions. They have taken eight pieces by classical composers and created a beautiful, understated jazz record. At times the tunes have been treated as if they are jazz standards, as a kicking off point for improvisation; at others, the trio have stuck closer to the originals, albeit with a novel instrumentation.
It is gentle, subtle music. The trio - Pablo Held on piano, Robert Landfermann on bass, and Jonas Burgwinkel on drums - have created an impressionistic sound. Their trust in each other - they have now been a working band for almost a decade - and their material allow them a lot of space.
Despite the range of pieces, from composers as diverse as Puccini, Scriabin, Bartok and Hindemith, the music the trio makes feels unified. Puccini's Recondita Armonia - "hidden harmony" - closes this gorgeous record. It doesn't feel hidden, since the trio play with an openness that sounds almost bare, full of honesty and integrity. With its classical roots, they have produced excellent jazz, with no barriers between the two. I think this is one of the records of the year.
Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.
LINKS: CD Review - The Pablo Held Trio meets John Scofield
Review: The Pablo Held Trio with John Scofield at Birdland in Neuburg