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ACT 9592-2






Questions in a world of blue (Badalamenti)

Nachtmahr (Wollny, Weber, Schaefer)

Der wanderer (Wollny)

Motette no. 1 (Schaefer)

White moon (Beier)

De desconfort (De Machaut, Guillaume)

Metzengerstein (Wollny)

Feu follet (Wollny, Weber, Schaefer)

Ellen (Schaefer)

Nocturne (Wollny)

Marion (Herrmann)

Au clair de la lune (traditional)

Odile et odette (Wollny)

Nachtfahrten (Wollny)

Michael Wollny (piano)

Christian Weber (bass)

Eric Schaefer (drums)

TT [47:12]

Several months ago, a friend played me Weltentraum, the debut recording from the Michael Wollny Trio (2014). I was more than impressed. Wollny, an internationally successful jazz pianist was born in Scheinfurt, Germany in 1978. In Weltentraum he draws inspiration from such classical figures as Guillaume de Machaut, Paul Hindemith, Alban Berg, Edgard Varèse and Wolfgang Rihm. Even Friedrich Nietzsche puts in an appearance in two of the tracks.

I was delighted when Wollney’s subsequent album Nachtfahrten came up for review. It was released a year later than Weltentraum, in 2015. It’s more texturally spare and darkly etched than it’s predecessor, probing the unlit recesses. Nachtfahrten translates as ‘Night Journeys’

The opening track Questions in a world of blue is Wollney’s stunning take on Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks music. Dignified and reverential, it’s a truly wondrous departure to Wollny's twilight voyage, setting the mood for what’s to follow. There's something portentous and nervously heedful in the brief, contrasting Nachtmahr which follows, and Wollney's improvisatory skills are put to good use in Der Wanderer. There's something very persuasive in the eloquently contoured line here. Schaefer’s Motette No 1 sounds like music being created on the wing, whilst his Ellen smoulders in a bluesy aroma.

Wollny turns again to Guillaume de Machaut in De Desconfort, and wraps it in some colourful instrumentation, and likewise Feu Follet affords some sensuous piano sonorities. Schaefer’s sensitive percussion contributions in Marion give off an incandescent aura, whilst Weber’s lonely bass line in Odile et Odette adds some needed shape to the narrative. The solemn, persistent tread of Nachtfahrten which ends the album brings the journey to a world-weary end.

I have nothing but praise for this superb recording, and the high level of musicianship of the trio. They are in perfect harmony throughout, and have a high level of empathy and attentiveness towards one another. The music is well-recorded, and the sound quality has real presence.

Stephen Greenbank

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