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Komponist: Various
Label: Naxos Jazz
Künstler: Jurgen Friedrich


If you visit an area that is known for its art scene -- Soho in New York, Olde City in Philadelphia -- it isn't uncommon to hear jazz groups performing in galleries. Quite often, people who are attracted to abstract jazz are also attracted to abstract paintings; those who appreciate Ornette Coleman just might appreciate Van Gogh and Picasso. One jazz improviser who obviously has a taste for abstract art is German pianist Jürgen Friedrich. The front cover of Friedrich's Surfacing shows artist David Perry's painting Abstract 24 -- an abstract painting for an album of abstract jazz. Recorded in 1999, this CD finds Friedrich leading an acoustic piano trio called Trio Friedrich-Hebert-Moreno; the Hebert is bassist John Hebert, while the Moreno is drummer Tony Moreno. Together, the three of them deliver an album of abstract, often impressionistic post-bop that sometimes brings to mind Paul Bley. That isn't to say that Friedrich is actually trying to emulate Bley or anyone else -- he is his own person -- but there are similarities between Bley's post-bop pianism and Friedrich's. Both are quite cerebral and both are abstract in a lucid way. The only familiar tune on this release is Duke Ellington's "Azure," which isn't obscure but isn't a beaten-to-death standard like "In a Sentimental Mood" or "Satin Doll." Most of the selections were written by Friedrich or Hebert, and their compositions must be accepted on their own terms (much like the paintings of Van Gogh and Picasso). Friedrich doesn't go out of his way to be accessible, but those who are adventurous and open-minded enough to go along for the ride will find that Surfacing has a lot to offer. ~ Alex Henderson