The Fires of Summer
The seasons had always been a source of inspiration for pianist Edgar Knecht. Whenever he thought about them, he couldn’t help ruminating: About the fleetingness of things. About the unique power of music to accompany us through all the different stages of life. About the necessity for change within his trio. It therefore seemed apt to make the seasons the focal point for the group’s new full-length. This is far more than another Vivaldi spin-off. It’s a veritable turning point for one of Europe’s most creative jazz musicians.
Other artists might consider the ten year mark the Autumn of their career. Edgar Knecht’s passion, however, is still burning with the fires of Summer. Only recently, his collaboration with Syrian pianist Aeham Ahmaed, which culminated in an album and a tour, earned international acclaim and worked like a rejuvenation. Inspired by the freshness of their encounter, Knecht wanted to leave his comfort zone with his regular ensemble as well. And so, for their third album, he boldly decided to expand the group into a quartet.
It was always clear to Knecht that Frederik Köster was the ideal partner for the project. Just like him, the trumpet player and composer is a free thinker. His work seamlessly combines academia and improvisation, intimate performances and orchestral instrumentation. Their cooperation hardly required any words. The two only briefly got together for a single day to exchange and discuss their approach. Their next meeting already took place at the idyllic Fattoria Musica near Osnabrück – for the recording session.
The resulting full-length is easily Knecht’s most ambitious album yet. It encompasses two complete seasonal cycles, each with its own personality. The first of the two is more subtle and mysterious, hiding its references behind metaphors. Morbidly beautiful 17th century song “Schnitter Tod”, for example, is a tribute to Autumn, while carol “Es kommt ein Schiff geladen” (“There comes a ship a’ laden”) hints at the cold of Winter. In the second cycle, with the percussive drive of “Sommerschall” and the Latin-flavoured “Spring Fever”, themes then become more transparent.
Although the seasons are often perceived to be harbingers of change, they are just as much symbols for continuity. Accordingly, Personal Seasons never fails to deliver on what fans have come to expect from Knecht and his band: Sensual grooves, magical, melodic soloing and a unique fusion of jazz, classical music and German folk songs. Combining these ingredients has always been the theme connecting Knecht’s entire oeuvre. Just like the seasons, they’re familiar – yet remain a constant source of inspiration.
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