Since coming from Germany in the mid 1950s, Herb Pilhofer has spent much of the past 45 years as a successful commercial musician in Minneapolis, working as a hired gun in recording studios and at the Guthrie Theater. In recent years, though, he’s had the itch to get back to the creative improvising that inspired him as young man, so he’s returned to his roots with Full Circle.
A while back, I began to spend some time playing my Bosendorfer piano. Like I used to do in the days when and performing gave meaning to my life. And I knew what l had to do. I got rid of all the hi-tech stuff, started to work on some new music and formed the Pilhofer Jazz Quartet.
Now I am discovering absolute joy in making the music that I love to make as well as the privilege of playing with talents like Steve Yeager (Vibes), Gordy Johnson (Bass), and my talented son, Michael Pilhofer, (Drums). It’s all priceless!
I am forever grateful to Tom Jung, my former partner and friend, who encouraged me to do this album. For as long as I’ve known Tom, he has always been on a quest “for that perfect sound.” Lucky for the Pilhofer Jazz Quartet, he is still chasing that rainbow.
He recorded Full Circle in the best possible, most natural way, with the revolutionary, Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording system. Recorded live, there are no overdubs and no tricks. Yes, you’ll hear an occasional clinker. You’ll hear us breathe, even groans, but I hope that you will also hear us “smile!”
When I heard the first playback, I smiled because I realized “I was home”. In a very peculiar and fortuitous way. It seemed that actually two dimensions, the music and the sound had come full circle.
So here then is our very direct, no frills, Full Circle album! Very much from the heart…
– Herb Pilhofer
Pilhofer Jazz Quartet
Herb Pilhofer, Piano
Steve Yeager, Vibes
Gordy Johnson, Bass
Michael Pilhofer, Drums
Total time: 00:52:57
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|Release Date||October 24, 2020|
Hi-Fi News & Review
The story behind this 2001 set by German-born Herb Philhofer, who moved to the USA in the 1950s, is a simple one. Having spent what he felt was far too long immersed in all the technology and trickery of the digital studio, he was itching to get back to basics and do what he did best – play his Bösendorfer piano.
Hence this set, recorded by Tom Jung to DSD with a stripped-back band involving Philhofer’s son Michael on drums, Steve Yaeger on vibes and Gordy Johnson on bass.
Using simple mic set-ups, valve preamps and a mixer from Manley, the session has a wonderfully live and unforced sound, aided by Bob Ludwig’s mastering. There’s nothing flashy or ‘over-produced’ here, but rather accomplished musicians playing together and taking in a mixture of standards and other material, not least a version of Satie’s delicate first Gymnopédie.
It’s a delight, from start to finish.
German pianist Herb Pilhofer was a former partner of DMP’s Tom Jung and was encouraged by him to record this quartet session in his hometown of St. Paul.
The dozen tunes include four Pilhofer originals and there is a leaning toward classical shown by the track used on the above sampler – Bach’s Lunch – a Sorta Rondo which sounds inspired by Brubeck’s Blue Rondo, and a marvelous version of Satie’s First Gymnopedie. Vibist Yeager is tops in this Live to DSD Stereo & DSD Multichannel session.
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