The Harmen Fraanje Quartet was founded in the summer of 2002. Hein Van de Geyn invited the musicians to his theater where they spent an extraordinary week together. The music of Harmen found a miraculous medium in this group.
The phenomenal brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras was able to add just that magic colour to the already sparkling sound of the piano trio. Nelson Veras, who already as a teenager toured with people like Pat Metheny, Aldo Romano, Gary Peacock, Michel Petrucciani, grew into one of the most promising guitarists in the world. His fabulous technique and effortless musicality are truly amazing.
Hein Van de Geyn is a well known and seasoned bassist. His 20 year long experience give him the ability to push the group from his place in the back to extraordinary heights.His flexibility and sense of improvisation give a special colour to the group. Drummer Matthieu Chazarenc is at this point one of the young lions of the Paris Jazz scene that is most in demand. He only arrived on the scene a few years ago. His intense polyrhythmical way of playing is an exciting factor within the sound of the band.
The music of this extraordinary quartet has a power and simplicity that hits the listener in a very direct way. Within the refreshing, clear compositions breathtaking improvisation takes place. All compositions are from harmen Fraanje, except track 11 by Nelson Veras.
As one of the most promising upcoming quartets Challenge Jazz wanted to fully support the beautiful sound of the band with the best quality format. Challenge therefore decided to record and release this album as a hybrid surround SACD only (not on Stereo CD) and later on as a Multichannel DSD and a Stereo DSD Download.
“I find this record very interesting. The compositions are very fresh, there is a melodic mood. Very well played !”
— Toots Thielemans
Total time: 00:58:36
|Original Recording Format|
Hein Van de Geyn
Studio LeRoy, Amsterdam on February 10 and 11, 2003.
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||October 3, 2014|
I find this record very interesting. The compositions are very fresh, there is a melodic mood. Very well played !
Harmen Fraanje is a Dutch pianist on the international jazz scene. But as with so many Dutch musicians he is open to every sort of music – in his case this includes classical, improvisation, Pygmy music, Duke Ellington – you name it.
In 2006 he received the Bird Award from the North Sea Jazz Festival. He is half of a classical piano duo and also performs as a trio with an avant-garde cellist and a Senegalese singer/percussionist. Guitarist Veras was born in Brazil and freelances in the Paris area. He has performed with Pat Metheny and Bereli Legrene among others.
This is quite a different-sounding quartet from the typical one featuring guitar and piano. There is more of a European classical music influence – especially in the lovely title tune and in the mostly guitar-solo Intermezzo.
The tune of Paris Song has stayed with me for a day now. All of the dozen compositions are originals of Harmen’s. Some sound like part of a score for a thoughtful European movie. Then there are the surprise jumps into uptempo post-bop swing, as in Mokka and Bungee.
Sonics are very clean and well-spaced-out, as with all Challenge Jazz DSD releases. This is a jazz experience that doesn’t shout, it just is.
They do things differently in Holland. (Although I’m no expert, I’ve never been there.)
For starters, the “Harmen Fraanje Quartet featuring Nelson Veras” consists of four players. The quartet includes (and “features”) Nelson Veras rather than being an existing jazz quartet with a guest player. Also, apart from names and acknowledgments on the cover sheet, there are exactly nineteen words of text – someone else saying that they like this music. This is hardly helpful if you are in a shop and trying to figure out whether to buy this or not.
Anyway, I wasn’t in a shop I bought it online. In fact, I cannot quite remember why I bought this disk, it was either because I was intrigued by the title – I thought it might be jazz based on a classical form, or it was because I could download short clips of some of the tracks and get a feel for the music. The later is just as well as the listed websites have precious little information about the group or recording either.
Sonatala is a disk of a traditional jazz trio with an added guitarist – the “featured” Nelson Veras. The combination is very pleasant to listen to with the Jazz trio offsetting the guitar very well – why hasn’t this been done more often before? All too often great guitarists seem to play solo which is fine for one or two tracks but can be a bit of an earful for a whole disk – even with really great players.
Musically I rate both the composition and playing very highly. The styles vary enormously, at times there seems to be very careful composition such as in track 1, Sonatala, and yes it does have classical elements. At other times the composition seems more modern jazz and spontaneous with a little classical background. I would guess a few of the tracks were simply improvised in the studio. In many of the tracks, the piano and guitar are to the forefront with backing by the bass and drums. However, track 4, Mokka sets the bass and drums free for a good blast of the lower registers.
Very enjoyable music, I would like to hear more recordings from the Harmen Fraanje quartet.
Finally the sound… BRAVO! A paradigm of clarity. Although recorded in 2003, this disk sets standards that other labels would do well to emulate.
They may do things differently in Holland bit in this case, it has been done very well. If you like jazz this is a showcase DSD release.
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