This album was produced and recorded by the NativeDSD Team. It is exclusively available for downloading at NativeDSD Music in DSD Stereo & DSD Multichannel (up to DSD 256) plus Stereo DSD 512.
“The sound of the fortepiano very much suits our modern time,” Frerichs notes. “It is an instrument that connects cultures.” On his new album, The Contemporary Fortepiano, he takes the listener on a world tour comprising 15 musical miniatures that each highlight a different aspect of the ensemble.
Rembrandt has a personal style that is driven by content rather than virtuosity. His music invariably carries an artistic message, which is informed by his world travels. This gives his work an additional dimension; Rembrandt integrates elements of Arabic music into a new concept, seamlessly connecting East and West. He feels equally in his element while playing the percussive 18th century fortepiano, a 19th century harmonium, or his modern grand piano. With violone player Tony Overwater and percussionist Vinsent Planjer, he forms a unique-sounding trio, whose subtle style is its own trademark.
Rembrandt Frerichs – Pianist and Composer
Tony Overwater – Bass
Vinsent Planjer – Drums and Percussion
Total time: 01:08:35
van der Hul
Jared Sacks, Tom Caulfield
Bruel & Kyaer, Schoeps
Rens Heijnis custom made
|Original Recording Format|
Jared Sacks, Jonas Sacks
Luthers Church Groningen, The Netherlands
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||February 15, 2018|
Don’t let the title of this album put you off! There’s great jazz with a world music flair residing here. (…) The Trio uses the unique timbre and color of these instruments create a new sound in contemporary jazz. And it works. (…) The trio’s improvising breathes life into the music.
I must confess it is very hard for me to write an introduction to my review of ‘The Contemporary Fortepiano’ by the Rembrandt Frerichs Trio simply because I want to rush to herald how fantastic this album is. Ever since I first sat down and played this recently added NativeDSD download (and played it again and again for several times in a row), I have been enchanted by it. It is fresh, lively and inspiring. Every minute of it is evocative. A celebration of the art of music.
Now that I have managed to lift the conclusion into the first paragraph, here is an introduction to this unique Dutch jazz trio. All three members graduated from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and have been playing together for 12 years now, winning recognition and awards in international festivals. On this album Frerichs plays a rare copy of the Walter fortepiano that stood in Mozart’s house (!) and a 19th century harmonium he restored himself.
Bassist Tony Overwater plays the violone, a precursor of the double bass, and how wonderful it sounds—a perfectly chosen complement to the other instruments.
Percussionist Vinsent Planjer plays a unique instrument set of his own design, which sounds very melodic and exciting, adding a pleasant drive to the tracks, melding finely with the fortepiano lead and the bass but never pushing them—sometimes conjuring up the dance of warm raindrops during a summer shower.
About half of the tracks on the album were composed by Frerichs, while the remaining ones are credited to the other members, but you can find a splendid Hancock cover there as well (Butterfly). Influences through space and time abound: baroque, Latin, African, Armenian, Arabic, you name it. I cannot help it, but one of the tracks (Escher) even reminds me of Philip Glass. But wherever the inspiration comes from, each track has a fine arch in its structure from start to finish. A diverse album which through the talent of the wonderful musicians manages to hold together as a whole. Highlights to me are the aforementioned ‘Escher’ with its special atmosphere and delicate raindrop-like percussion sounds; ‘Le Badinage’ with the ebb and flow of its beautiful melody as it is played by and passed on to each member of the group; while the main feature on the album is the track called ‘Offering,’ built up cleverly and showcasing the synergy of these extraordinary musicians (hint: if you have a selection of DSD tracks to demonstrate the capabilities of the format and your sound system, this one belongs there!); and then I also love ‘Hak en Tak’ for the violone.
What helps this heartwarming music to come and immediately grab the listener is the exceptional sound quality. It is right there with the best of the best. I am only able to play DSD128 stereo (the recording was made in DSD256 stereo and multi-channel) and it is a real joy—whether you choose to play it at a lower volume or decide to crank it up.
It may well end up as the album of the year for me (and the trio as the discovery of the year—thank you NativeDSD!). I hope there will be other recordings available from this trio in the future—in the form they deserve: DSD.
The Contemporary Fortepiano is an expedition to the past and then a return to today. Pianist Rembrandt Frerichs, bassist Tony Overwater and drummer Vincent Planjer wanted to do something very special with this album.
In addition to a Modern Grand Piano, Frerichs used a (prepared) Fortepiano, a model from 1790 – just like a Mozart at home – and sometimes a Harmonium from 1860. In some cases, Overwater takes on a Violone, an ancestor of the double bass. And Planjer has designed and built his own percussion set.
They play 15 carefully produced pieces on this album. Only one track – Butterfly (written by Herbie Hancock) does not come composed by one of their own hands. The music ranges broadly. There is jazz to hear. There are Arab influences and sometimes there is also a reference to Minimal Music.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars.
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