Friday, May 15, 2009

First Take: Henning Sieverts Symmetry, Blackbird

Pirouet PIT3040

Henning Sieverts, bass and cello
Chris Speed, clarinet and tenor saxophone
Johannes Lauer, trombone
Achim Kaufmann, piano
John Hollenbeck, drums

heard a couple of samples from this while surfing Jazz Loft, and I was intrigued by the line-up, particularly the presence of Achim Kaufmann, who I've enjoyed on the recent Unearth (nuscope), with Frank Gratowski and Wilbert de Joode.

After one spin, the word that comes to mind to describe Blackbird is delightful. It has a sunny disposition that makes it perfect for listening on a summer's day. With forward-thinking names like Speed and Kaufmann on board, it might seem strange to refer to the CD this way, but this is a thinking person's lite jazz. Which is not to say it's lightweight; there's plenty of satisfying improvisations and angular themes penned by Sievert. In addition, the group tackles Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice, and the Blackbird in question is of the Lennon/McCartney variety. 

The front line of Lauer's trombone and Speed's clarinet make a great match, bouyant or moody as the music requires. Sievert never calls attention to himself, choosing to emphasize the group sound in service to the compositions. I look forward to digging into this more; even my wife might like it!

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