Pianist Harmen Fraanje returns to NativeDSD Music with his 4th Stereo and Multichannel DSD release. We Were There is a DSD 256 Stereo and DSD 256 Multichannel recording on the Just Listen label that features the trio of Ernst Reijseger (Cello, Vocals), Harmen Fraanje (Piano), and Mola Sylla (Vocals, Percussion).
The trio has been described as ‘the perfect amalgam of Jazz, African Songs and Classical Music’ (1). They have released two earlier albums for Winter and Winter and made the music for several films that were directed by well-known filmmaker Werner Herzog.
Herzog says “What has been strange becomes familiar. And what has been familiar acquires the glow of mystery.”
‘Cellist Ernst Reijseger, pianist Harmen Fraanje and Senegalese singer-percussionist Mola Sylla are able to create their own language on stage like no one else; and although it might not be directly understood, it can be felt very clearly’. (2)
The trio makes fierce and beautiful music that is also melancholy and always heavily supported by the excellent voice of their African singer. The exuberant, improvised piano playing of Fraanje and the subtle melodies of Reijseger make for an eclectic, sometimes spiritual whole where nothing is what it seems.”
(1) Quote by North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands; (2) Quote by John Kelman, All About Jazz
Ernst Reijseger – Cello, Vocals
Harmen Fraanje – Piano
Mola Sylla – Percussion, Vocals
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 00:56:16
Van den Hul
Horus, Merging Technologies
Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps, AKG
|Original Recording Format
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
|Recording Type & Bit Rate
|March 11, 2020
The Sunday Morning Herald
You remember the wonder when you opened a pop-up picture book as a child? The sheer magic of each double-page spread springing to life? This album is like that, as first one mystery unfolds, then another. Boulmamine has a gauzy weaves of piano, cello and m’bira, before Mola Sylla’s voice suddenly rushes us to a place of vivid colour and gripping drama. Such staggering contrasts encapsulate the latest offering from Sylla (also percussion and the stringed xalam), cellist Ernst Reijseger and pianist Harmen Fraanje. On one level you hear dialogues between Europe and Africa, and between formal composition and wide-ranging improvisation, but the pop-up book wonder is that the joins and folds don’t show. Startling music keeps rising up before your ears and jump-starting your heart. Sylla’s voice is vast and stark, yet so warm that the bluesy Xeeg will melt your bones. Reijseger has few peers for imaginative scope as an improvising cellist, while Fraanje – himself a brilliant soloist – never overloads the music with harmonic information, but instead maintains a suppleness that makes the sudden changes in texture, drama and melodic direction seem retrospectively inevitable. Among the world’s great bands.
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The title We Were There is a reference to the last piece on the album in which Mola Sylla tells a story in the Wolof, and in the tradition, it is always that the listeners (including children) always ask, and… ..were you there? Were You There?
We Were There is a beautiful record with 11 diverse and fascinating songs in which jazz, blues, classical and African music merge into a completely unique sound. The sound is intense and the compositions overflow with emotion.
There are quite a few songs that get a new life because they were once written for a different ensemble. Albatross van Fraanje, for example, was recorded with Mats Eilertsen ‘s trio for ECM. At that time the piece had no title and in the studio, Manfred Eicher started to move his arms as if he were flying, listening to Albatross.said. Then it appeared on this record with that name.
The infectious Raykwela of Reijseger is an excellent antidepressant; playing three times a day with a lot of volume in gloomy times provides good and danceable comfort music. It was once written for a VPRO Moondive project and performed in Paradiso with ao trombonist Ray Anderson.
The three musicians are all storytellers. The songs all originated from improvisations. For example, Bodensee started as a sound improvisation from Fraanje. Very sparingly and gradually he found the harmonies and a kind of melody. It has a bit of a Mahler vibe and since it’s written in Germany and Switzerland with the trio, it is called Lake Constance.
The album is available today as a DSD digital download. Unfortunately the earlier planned release concerts for the album have been canceled for the time being.
Just Play What Your Head Says (Interview)
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