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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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Pablo Held Trio Ė Lineage

Pablo Held (piano): Robert Landfermann (bass): Jonas Burgwinkel (drums)

Recorded January 2016, Kyberg Studio, Obergaching

PIROUET PIT3094 [45:34]

 

 

 

Hidden

Lament

Song Noir

Bernstein Fantasie

Lineage

Ammedea

Meta

Spuren

 

The Pablo Held Trio specialises in allusion. The elliptical elements that course throughout the length of its latest eight-track, 45-minute disc, do nothing to suggest that the sideways glancing look, classical echo and sense of internalised expression are on the wane. On the contrary. Hidden exemplifies the approach, where hard-to-pin-down stylistic allegiances are allied to some propulsive rhythmic playing but where nothing is ever straightforward. Heldís ruminative pianism is always invigorating because one knows he will crank up both tempo and mood but will never descend to obvious gestures. This a trio with a mind of its own.

Some might well detect an overriding classicism. However, when Held does get aboard the jazz wagon, as on Lament when he finally drives the tempo, itís via canny rhythmic figures that certainly counter-balance Heldís more prolix enthusiasms elsewhere. Yet I suppose itís the ultimate formality of Heldís pianism that will prove a sticking point for the more florid jazz lover, who may find his crystalline restraint enervating. That may well be the case in the Francophile-titled Song Noir but the more sympathetic listener will note that the use of metrics, tempo variation and alternation of denser and clearer palettes lends this trio its special distinction.

Sometimes even an admirer, such as me, finds Held frustrating. Lineage is slow and again elusive, though its essential, lyricism is obvious. What is less clear is whether, harmonically, the music goes anywhere. To me it circles about very elegantly, but never clarifies. Meta is better, its impressionist writing played off against the occasional temperamental outburst and Spuren just as interesting, where the sense of linear space the three men generate prefaces a darting, cagey series of improvised lines.

Plenty to think about then, with this latest trio recording where instrumental finesse is allied to a certain withdrawn, classically-inspired ethos.

Jonathan Woolf



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