The second album from Dutch pianist Wolfert Brederode’s international band – with clarinettist Claudio Puntin and drummer Samuel Rohrer from Switzerland, and Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen – builds upon the achievements of 2006’s “Currents”, a recording which netted much positive press. In the UK’s Jazz Journal, Michael Tucker spoke of “a patiently and intelligently shaped” album, noting that “the currents here are mostly deep and slow-moving, sometimes practically hypnotic in their ebb and flow.”
“Currents” was the beginning of the story. Four years of collaborative work have seen conceptual considerations overtaken by what leader Brederode calls “a very natural way of working together”: “There’s little need for discussion now when a new piece is brought in. Each player has found his role inside the ensemble. Not in terms of soloing but in taking responsibility for a part of the whole musical picture.” There is no jostling for solo space in this line-up, the goal is to serve the compositions: “As we play the music one of us may be ‘featured’ or come to the fore in a particular piece, but these things arise spontaneously, and change constantly.”
Recorded at Studios la Buissonne in Pernes-les-Fontaines near Avignon, “Post scriptum” features nine pieces composed by Wolfert Brederode, and three by Mat Eilertsen; Samuel Rohrer and Claudio Puntin contribute a tune apiece to the album’s repertoire.
Some tunes are brand new, others have been percolating for a while. The opening “Meander”, Brederode explains, took time to find its form. Its opening 3/4 pattern had to wait until the composition’s sense of harmonic movement made itself felt. Finished shortly before the recording session, the piece was briefly played live before the group headed for the studio. “Angelico” on the other hand, with its floating melody hovering over Wolfert’s constant pulsing chordal 8th notes, was written shortly after the “Currents” session, and has been a concert favourite ever since.
“Post scriptum” is a piece Brederode wrote for a theatrical work called “Distance”: “We’d never played it with the quartet before. I just took it to the studio, and we ran through some variations.” The first one heard here is “a dreamy version that comes out of the deep”, capped by Wolfert’s high piano line. The variation “Post scriptum, var.” takes off from Eilertsen’s opening bass line, “we move above that, and react to it, as Mats takes the line ‘out’ and brings it back again. This is perhaps a more tense version.” Why is “Post scriptum” the title track? “I believe that quite often very important messages are contained in the short postscript added to a long letter.”
“Inner Dance” is “a simple piece where the melodies are all within one scale but the harmonies are moving: the feeling I get from it is of dancing without leaving the chair - simply by letting the piece go through your head.”
“Sofja” is named for Sofja Osipovna Levinton, a leading character in Ukrainian writer Vassily Grosssman’s emotionally-powerful epic about the Stalinist era, “Life and Fate”. “It’s a book packed full of extraordinary characters, very brilliantly drawn, but Sofja’s story particularly touched and gripped me”.
The tune “November” was developed out of an earlier piece called “For What It’s Worth”: “I added the rubato part – you feel the long winter about to begin – which we get into after the dark theme.” In seasonal contrast, “Silver Cloud” references the fast-moving atmospheric phenomena visible in the twilight hours of the summer months. Claudio Puntin’s “Augenblick in der Garderrobe des Sommers”, meanwhile, has a more bucolic summery feel – as well as the longest title in the Brederode band book.
“Hybrids” is Samuel Rohrer’s composition: “Samuel’s experience of writing for theatre and dance has helped him, I think, in finding unusual shapes for ensemble music.” Mats Eilertsen’s “Aceh” is, for the leader, “a very beautiful piece with a developing line. We’ve played it different ways, it can be interpreted really quietly, but this version finally becomes wild in the end.” Of Mats’s other pieces, “Wall View” resounds with the timelessness of a folk song. “Brun” had been played live just once before the session. Its extended bass clarinet and bass intro set the stage for Brederode’s linear entry, “taking the melody like a horn player.”
Born in Wassenaar, Netherlands, in 1974 Wolfert Bredferode has worked as a musician and composer since 1996, his refined and focused touch making him one of the most distinctive musicians of the younger Dutch generation.
Mats Eilertsen has previously been heard on ECM recordings with Trygve Seim & The Source, with Jacob Young, with Thomas Strønen’s Parish band (featuring Bobo Stenson), and latterly, with the Tord Gustavsen Ensemble. Samuel Rohrer is one third of the rapidly-rising Colin Vallon Trio, whose new album “Rruga” is currently getting much press attention. Brederode and Rohrer have more than a decade of collaborative work behind them and have played, for instance, in singer Susanne Abbuehl’s band (ECM album: “April”). Claudio Puntin is active also in the world of classical music, and has played with the Ensemble Modern, and other leading chamber ensembles and orchestras. His previous ECM releases include the album Ylir with Icelandic singer/violinist Gerdur Gunnarsdóttir.
A special album launch concert for “Post scriptum” takes place at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis on April 14.