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SAMUEL BLASER QUARTET

Spring Rain

Whirlwind Recordings WR4670

 

 

1. Cry Want

2. Missing Mark Suetterlyn

3. Temporarily

4. Homage

5. Umbra

6. The First Snow

7. Scootin’ About

8. Trudgin’

9. Spring Rain

10. Trippin’

11. Counterparts

12. Jesus Maria


Samuel Blaser - trombone

Russ Lossing - (piano, Fender rhodes, wurlitzer, minimoog)

Drew Gress - double bass

Gerald Cleaver - drums


For his impressive debut with Whirlwind Recordings, the Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser pays tribute to the unique style of Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008), the American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, composer and arranger. Blaser is a formidable presence in the contemporary jazz scene. My introduction to his music was his Consort In Motion : A Mirror to Machaut, released a couple of years ago. It certainly whet my appetite for his sound world and music-making. It’s an engaging album, drawing on his classical background; a sophisticated take on the music of Machaut and Dufay through the eyes of jazz.

In Spring Rain, Blaser’s aim is not imitation, but to search out and capture the spirit of Giuffre, breathing new life into his music, and reinventing it with his own brand of artistry and invention. Like Giuffre, Blaser is an adventurous, free and creative spirit. This album is stamped with his own personal traits and retains his unique instrumental sound. He says of his approach: “With this album I would like to show that the trombone can be melodic and have various forms of expression, and that I am not just interested in free jazz – you can't categorize my music in one space. I want people to know that there is jazz, blues, classical music, beautiful melodies and no boundaries."

This is music which displays inspiration, originality, inventiveness and spontaneity. It opens up new paths and experiences ‘……. trudging on a road less travelled, or perhaps where no path exists at all’ as Robert Sadin comments in his liner contribution.. Throughout there’s a sense of improvisation, with music being created on the wing. The rich, myriad palette of colour Blaser achieves from his instrument is astonishing – gritty, smoky, plenty of bite are adjectives that immediately spring to mind, especially when listening to a track like Trippin. What thrills me is the skillful and imaginative scoring with which this young composer brings this music to life. Scootin’ About is gripping, with it’s dissonant underpinnings. Trudgin’ truly paints a world-weary landscape, with Spring Rain dazzlingly scored and providing a fitting vehicle for the Quartet’s virtuosity.

All the tracks have been composed by Blaser, or Blaser and his pianist Russ Lossing (track 5). Jimmy Giuffre can be credited with tracks 1,7 and 8 and Carla Bley 3 and 12. Booklet notes are by Steve Swallow who, together with Paul Bley and Jimmy Giuffre formed the legendary Giuffre Trio, a formative influence on the young Blaser.

Stephen Greenbank



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