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Cover

Jasper Somsen Group

Sardegna

  • Type CD
  • Label Challenge Records
  • UPC 0608917336122
  • Catalog number CR 73361
  • Release date 31 January 2013
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About the album

Jasper Somsen, a talented jazz bassist and composer from the Netherlands, has worked with Enrico Pieranunzi, Ferdinand Povel, Rita Reys and Nancy Marano among others, performing regularly throughout Europe. He put together his current quintet in 2009. The Jasper Somsen Group consists of Bert Lochs on trumpet and flugelhorn, guitarist Florian Zenker, pianist Tilmar Junius, and drummer Pieter Bast plus the leader. They recorded their debut Dreams, Thoughts and Poetry a few years ago for the Challenge label.
 
The quintet’s second CD, Sardegna, is dedicated to the island of Sardinia. The 11 selections, nine by Somsen, one from Lochs, and a group improvisation (“Cala Luna”), cover a wide range of musical ground. The first two numbers, “Mia Nefertiti” (which is in 5/4 time) and “Sardegna,” are rhythmically tricky although the musicians sound effortless during the ensembles and the solos. Other selections include haunting ballads that are quietly emotional and a bit reminiscent of an ECM recording (the touching “The Loss Of Innocence,” and “Lost And Found”), a couple of brief bass solos that act as transitions between pieces, the atmospheric “Cala Luna,” and a trio of hotter upbeat pieces (“Lotus,” “One For Paolo” and “And They All Disappeared”) that bring out the best in the soloists. Lochs (who occasionally recalls Kenny Wheeler), Zenker, and Junius all take thoughtful and meaningful solos, drummer Bast displays versatility, and Jasper Somsen makes every note count.
 
Sardegna is a fine sampling of high-quality and inventive modern jazz.
 
Scott Yanow


SARDEGNA is a profound personal narrative about the way the course of life changes. The short stories on this album are about the search for the meaning of life, the loss of dear ones, love, friendship and songs that are just songs, because they are … just songs.

Track 8 "One for Paolo" is dedicated to the Sardinian trumpet player and composer Paolo Fresu:

What connects The Netherlands and Sardinia, Italy? And what connects Jasper Somsen, his poetic music and this fascinating Mediterranean island?

"For Jasper, I assume, this connection is based more on an emotional and personal level. But, we can also connect The Netherlands and Sardinia from a different perspective, by drawing together people and personal narratives, from the past and present, using the universal language of the arts. Some of the Sardinian names, as stated in this booklet, are musicians who moved to Amsterdam and The Hague, in order to gain more recognition – which is hard won in Italy. Being stubborn, obstinate and headstrong (a typical Sardinian mentality) they are firm in wishing to embed the ancient and rich Sardinian musical tradition into other musical traditions. In doing so these musicians affirm that Sardinia is continuously in touch with the rest of the world and not just a somewhat remote island in the Mediterranean Sea. They treasure the still vivid ancient traditions of the “Mare Nostrum” - the origin of all Western civilization.

For contemporary jazz musicians it is a natural process to head forward and to leave the Sardinian traditions behind, in order to develop a personal musical language. Often cultural heritage, nostalgia and new open forms of expression collide within our music. Although not impossible, it is odd that a jazz musician from abroad dedicates an album to our island. However, if it is true that music is a universal language, then for certain there are many ways to comprehend and express it.

Contrary to a more philological or didactic approach, this album is merely a reference to the rhythm of life on our island – which can be heard in some of the eleven original compositions. In particular, the title track “Sardegna” refers to a traditional Sardinian dance (Ballo Sardo) introduced by an ostinato rhythmic pattern, played by the drums. “Cala Luna” is a soundscape which expresses the sandy beaches and a calm sea at sunset. The first composition mentioned represents the element earth, the second: water - both elements so deeply connected within the Sardinian soul and representative of the ever complex relationship between the island and the mainland.

The other compositions do not only refer to Sardinia itself, but are much more connected to the vast history of European and American jazz, and maybe to another island yet to be discovered… An island created by passion, imagination and poetry. Akin to other migrants to Sardinia, exploring our island, so also does Jasper by releasing this album: being able to create new memories and to whisper new destinations in our ears."
 
Paolo Fresu, Luxembourg, October 2, 2012

Cosa lega l’Olanda alla Sardegna? E soprattutto, quale è il rapporto tra 
la poetica musicale di Jasper Somsen e l’affascinante Isola circondata 
dal Mediterraneo?

Credo che per Jasper il rapporto sia puramente emozionale e che 
questo si basi su un vissuto e su un intreccio di relazioni che appare evidente scorrendo i nomi di coloro che ringrazia nel booklet di questo Sardegna. Ma possiamo provare a tessere altri fili. Sono trame che annodano storie e persone del presente e del passato a linguaggi d’arte 
che parlano con parole, note e strumenti. I nomi sono quelli di alcuni 
artisti sardi che in questi ultimi anni si sono trasferiti ad Amsterdam o 
all’Aia (Den Haag in olandese) alla ricerca di un’attenzione che in Italia purtroppo sembra difficile avere. Lo fanno con caparbietà e con quell’ostinazione, sassarese, cagliaritana o barbaricina che sia, che è 
tipica dei sardi e soprattutto di quelli mai partiti se non con il pensiero, convinti di poter cambiare le cose attraverso la conoscenza e lo scambio. Sardi che manifestano la loro visione dell’Isola come di un luogo non necessariamente circondato dal mare ma in costante contatto con il 
mondo e capaci di traslare in note quello straordinario tesoro di musica ancestrale che in Sardegna ancora esiste, grazie all’influsso di una storia millenaria fatta di approdi e di partenze in quel Mare Nostrum che è stato 
la culla della civiltà.
Per un jazzman, in quanto artista contemporaneo per antonomasia, è naturale avere una visione sempre meno insulare della Sardegna. Pur riconoscendone le caratteristiche culturali e linguistiche infatti, la sfera creativa è pervasa di un’apertura che si scontra con il concetto di memoria e pertanto può risultare bizzarro (ma non impossibile) che un musicista ‘straniero’ dedichi all’Isola un racconto tangenziale. Se è vero che la musica è un linguaggio diretto e universale è altrettanto vero che questa può essere recepita in mille modi e dunque concepita con altrettante sfumature.

Per tale ragione Jasper e i suoi partner affrontano questa opera discografica non in modo filologico né tantomeno didascalico, laddove i rimandi alla Sardegna e/o al mondo insulare sono leggermente accennati solo in alcune delle composizioni originali che intramezzano gli undici titoli del cd.
“Sardegna” è introdotta da un ostinato ritmico della batteria che sa di “Ballo” tradizionale mentre “Cala Luna” con i suoi suoni lunghi e distesi, sa di rossi tramonti, di dune sabbiose e di calma risacca. Il primo sa di terra e il secondo sa di acqua: due degli elementi che caratterizzano da sempre la Sardegna e che rappresentano, secondo il mio parere, il complesso rapporto tra l’Isola insulare e quella continentale.

Il resto sono rimandi e ammiccamenti. Non solo alla Sardegna ma soprattutto alla grande storia del jazz europeo e americano e forse a un’altra Isola ancora da scoprire che è quella fatta di poesia e passione.
Poesia dei luoghi immaginati e passione verso il viaggio che non deve essere necessariamente reale ma piuttosto immaginato.
Come provano a fare oggi i nuovi migranti e come farà Jasper Somsen grazie a questo riuscito cd in grado di suggerire nuove memorie e nuovi approdi.

Paolo Fresu Lussemburgo, 2 Ottobre 2012

 

Jasper Somsen Trio - A New Episode In Life part I

21-10-2016

image A Beautiful teaser video of the two upcoming albums of Jasper Somsen. Check out the video here! Clearly a perfect match, the Jasper Somsen Trio’s very first encounter ever resulted directly in two new albums in just two recording days!  All new compositions, by Jasper Somsen, can be heard on the first album. On the second album the trio digs deeply into free form improvisations, sometimes ending up in a famous Jazz ...

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13-05-2013 Jazzism