2022 NativeDSD Album of the Year Nominee – Jazz Piano
Pianist Rob van Bavel is accompanied by Frans van Geest on Double Bass and Marcel Serierse on Drums on Time For Ballads: The Maene Sessions, the latest album from Sound Liaison.
Time for Ballads was recorded on October 10, 2021 at De Terp (The White Church) in Oudorp, Netherlands on the amazing Chris Maene Straight Strung Concert Piano. Hence the album name “The Maene Sessions“.
In 2013 Daniel Barenboim commissioned Chris Maene to build a perfect parallel-strung concert grand piano. A piano that would reconcile the unique characteristic sonorous richness of the historical piano with the volume, clarity, power and playing comfort of the best modern concert piano. A piano with different sonorous properties, aiming to offer a valid artistic alternative to existing concert grands.
Chris Maene and his team went to work and after extensive experiments they built the first Chris Maene Straight Strung Concert Grand Piano. In May 2015 Daniel Barenboim inaugurated the new straight strung grand piano with a series of Schubert recitals in Vienna, Paris and London. The sound of the unique instrument was very well received by press, audiences and musicians alike. Today ‘Chris Maene Straight Strung Grand Pianos’ are played all over the world by the best international concert pianists.
This album features 13 ballads performed by Rob van Bavel and his trio. The songs include Body and Soul, In A Sentimental Mood, The Shadow Of Your Smile and several original compositions.
Rob van Bavel says, “This album is the result of what has been a most rewarding musical journey. Jazz is often associated with busy, energetic (or even neurotic) music. I have played my share of it and enjoyed it… but deep down, I really do love to play and listen to ballads. In October 2020, I played a concert with the John Engels Quintet in a beautiful little wooden church called ‘De Terp’ in Oudorp.
That night I had the pleasure and honor to be the first Dutch Jazz pianist to perform on the amazing Chris Maene Straight Strung Concert Grand Piano. The combination of this beautiful instrument with the acoustics of the church made a great impression on me. I realized that if I were to record a ballad album, that instrument in that church would be an ideal combination.”
Rob van Bavel – Piano
Frans van Geest – Double Bass
Marcel Serierse – Drums
Total time: 00:59:29
DSD 512 fs, DSD 256 fs, DSD 128 fs, DSD 64 fs, DXD 24 Bit, FLAC 192 kHz, FLAC 96 kHz
Ellington, Green / Heyman, Mandel, Rachmaninoff, Styne / Kahn, Tyner / Silver, van Bavel
|Analog to Digital Converter|
Horus, Merging Technologies
Frans de Rond, Tom Caulfield (DXD to DSD Transfers)
AudioQuest & Mogami
Horus, Merging Technologies
Main set: 2x DPA 4006 Rob (Piano): Josephson C700S, 2x Josephson e22, 2x Josephson C617 Marcel (Drums): 2x Sonodore RCM-401 (Overhead), 1x Josephson e22 (Snare), 1x Josephson C715 (Bass Drum) Frans (Bass): Josephson C700A
Speakers (Mixing): TAD Compact Evolution Power Amp: Moon 760A Recording & mixing headphones: Hifiman HE1000se / Sennheiser HD800S All power cables and power conditioners by AudioQuest.
|Original Recording Format|
Chris Maene Straight Strong Grand Piano
Peter Bjørnild & Rob van Bavel
Frans de Rond
De Terp (The White Church) in Oudorp, Netherlands on October 10, 2021
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
|Release Date||February 18, 2022|
Pianist Rob van Bavel has been one of the top players in Dutch jazz for many decades. In fact, there are few musicians who can compete with his knowledge of the tradition and craftsmanship. He is internationally renowned as an interpreter of bebop and he masters the finer points of this jazz style like no other.
On his new album he plays the Chris Maene Straight Strung grand piano, an instrument in which the strings are not stretched cross-stringed like on a Steinway. The effect is that the instrument sounds softer and warmer with more overtones. That character greatly benefits this production devoted to ballads.
Van Bavel has made a nice selection of standards and many of his own pieces. Ellington’s well-known ‘In a Sentimental Mood‘ gets a nice makeover, just like Styne and Kahn’s ‘I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry‘. Van Bavel feels like a fish in water in the tradition and his interpretations radiate a profound love for authentic jazz.
Van Bavel also likes to play jazz arrangements of classical music, such as in the ‘Elegie‘ composed by Rachmaninoff. The pianist himself contributes ‘Your Nocturne‘, a composition in which you can hear Chopin nodding in agreement. It is also special that with ‘De Tor Ahead‘ he pays tribute to one of the nicest jazz clubs in the Netherlands: a playful adaptation of the time-honored ‘Detour Ahead‘. Nowhere can the pianist be caught displaying sentimentality.
Like no other, Van Bavel knows how to strike the right nuance in his improvisations and to expose the core of a melody. Something that is perhaps most prominent in the two closing standards. For example, Johnny Mandel’s ‘The Shadow of Your Smile‘ is provided with a beautiful intro, from which the theme emerges from a box like a devil. The musical vision that Van Bavel puts down in the closing ‘Body and Soul‘ shows great class. Everything is right: the tempo, the choice of notes and that soothing touch. He actually makes the Maene wing sing.
His eminent accompanists also deserve praise: double bassist Frans van Geest and drummer Marcel Serierse. Gently propelling, they always maneuver the music in the right direction and provide the slow songs with the necessary oxygen. ‘Time for Ballads’ is perhaps the most successful album made by the far too modest Van Bavel in practice: a statement with which he demonstrates that the jazz tradition is timeless, just like the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
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