About the album
Bart Wirtz - Alto Saxophone | Jasper Soffers - Piano |
Jeroen Vierdag - Bass | Joost van Schaik - Drums |
Tim Eijmaal - Guitar.
The program on this CD, which is comprised of eight of Bart Wirtz’s originals, begins with “North.” A modern and modal-oriented piece in 6/4 time, this stimulating number serves as an excellent introduction to the quartet. Incidentally, “North” received its name because it was composed by Wirtz in Amsterdam North.
“Your Eyes” is a melancholy love song full of quiet intensity, a bit like John Coltrane’s “Naima” at first. Soffers improvises a solo full of unanswered questions that are thought-provoking.
“J Minus No” is a major contrast. Its catchy rhythm will get one’s feet tapping. Guitarist Tim Eijmaal appears as a guest and Wirtz says of him: “He plays like a madman.”
Vierdag and van Schaik create a somewhat desolate mood during a mysterious-sounding introduction which leads into “Prologue,” a brooding ballad, which features a sensitive and heartfelt piano solo from Soffers that conveys a great deal of barely-hidden emotion, possibly a sense of loss. The piece concludes by returning to the original eccentric dialogue between the bass and drums as it fades out. “Honque Honque” has a two-note repeated “honk” in its theme, a melody with wit that is reminiscent of Thelonious Monk. What is most unusual about this offbeat piece and a quality that makes it seem a bit out of balance is that, instead of utilizing a conventional 32-bar structure with an 8-bar bridge, the bridge is only six bars and much more complicated than the childlike theme. “Hasty Hand” has the group sounding a bit like the John Coltrane Quartet (except with an alto rather than a tenor in the lead) on a medium- slow modal piece. The melody of “Wait” haunted Wirtz for two years because he could not find a conclusion for the theme. Finally, two weeks before the recording session, the ending came. The “wait” was worth it for this wistful ballad results in some highly expressive playing by the altoist and the pianist that gives the impression that they are thinking aloud. The closing number, “Butcher Pepe,” is a medium- tempo cooker that will leave listeners in a happy mood and with a deep appreciation for the musicianship and consistent creativity of the quartet.
The words “special” and “authentic” fit Bart Wirtz’s music. Rather than copy the past, he looks forward, hoping to play all over the world with his quartet. Bart Wirtz adds his own personality to every note he plays, he is a skilled composer, and his quartet has a great deal of potential. Listening to this rewarding CD lets listeners experience the first chapter.
The major alto-saxophonist from the Netherlands, Bart Wirtz has developed not only into one of the top saxophonists in Europe but one of the best altoists in the world. With his previous album ‘iDreamer’ he won an Edison award in 2012, for this new album Wirtz decided to team up with an even bigger ensemble and collaborated with one of the world’s greatest trumpet players Sean Jones (the orchestra of ...