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Piano player and composer Søren Gemmer presents ‘At First’; an ambitious melodic and harmonic approach to contemporary improvised music. The album stages a love and awe of classical piano music in a context of expressive modern jazz.
At First introduces a fresh new talent in Danish jazz. It features ten original compositions rich in ideas and ingenuity and a quartet of exciting players from the Scandinavian scene. AT FIRST is a diverse musical universe created around the compositional signature of Søren Gemmer:
“On the majority of the compositions I have merged my love and awe of late romantic and modern classical composers with the improvisation, the sound, and the formal concepts of modern jazz.
When the need to express and deal with the highs and lows of life imposed itself heavily on me a few years ago, I found myself restricted by what I knew as a jazz pianist.”
When submerging in the piano music of Prokofiev, Søren Gemmer at one point stumbled upon ‘Visions Fugitives No. 1’. It was the explicit and clear melodic beauty, set against ambiguous and adventurous harmony, that indi- cated a clear compositional direction. Gemmer’s ‘Stay Silent’ is a tribute to this decisive inspiration:
“Balancing strong melody with eclectic harmonics is my way of engaging in the modern jazz idiom. Not least because I feel that this way around, the genre has a real potential to communicate to anyone seeking an emotional experience from music,” Gemmer explains.
The album presents the Søren Gemmer Quartet. Guitarist, Per Møllehøj, and drummer, andreas fryland, who contribute a composition each, are widely known on the Danish jazz scene for their versatile yet distinctive playing. Bass player, tapani toivanen, has attracted attention from his work with the Joona Toivanen Trio, who have extensive European live activity and releases on EMI Blue Note and CAM Jazz to their name.
Recorded and mixed by legendary Dutch sound engineer, Chris Weeda, the album offers sonic clarity and finesse on a very high level.
Visit sorengemmer.com, soundcloud.com/soren-gemmer for more information, free tracks and more.
"Stay Silent is a beautiful piece of music, its full, rich melody is something that draws the listener back again and again. …
Masterful from start to finish, At First is an album that grows in strength with repeated listens and marks the arrival of a new talent."
Sean Smith - Tokyo Jazz Notes
"The harmonics and subtle colour that Soren Gemmer adds to each piece is wonderful to hear. At First is an invigorating debut that is easy to fall in love with quickly. A lush and moving work for any music fan. Start listening now…"
Stephan Moore - Jazzwrap
"This is quite a sublime album. One that I didn't expect to like but I've become quite taken by it.
For once, the press notes tell it like it is and I have no qualms about endorsing them - no it's not a cop-out!"
Lance - bebop spoken here
"Kopen die hap!" ("buy it!") - (8,5/10)
Peter van Belkom - mpodia.nl
"Søren Gemmer's combination of classical background and american jazz influence is a gem on new CD At First."
Philippe Baron, radio host on Musiq 3, RTBF (Belgian National Radio) on Twitter.