About the album
What do young musicians actually think when they embark on a worn-out beaten path such as the piano trio? In the case of Marc Perrenoud, Cyril Regamey and Marco Müller, no one actually believed almost since the beginning of their fast-paced career that they would ever pick up on the likes of Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum to play sweet-swing-as-swing-can songs. Whoever listens to the three play tends more to be reminded of Metallica, Radiohead or Thindersticks than "Logo", the first album of the three in 2008. Perhaps Hindemith, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Ligeti or French cabaret at the beginning of the 20th century too, all important inspirations for their last work to date, "Vestry Lamento". But just no traditional blueprints, because there are indeed more than enough of them. "Marco, Cyril and I often play together and just think about nothing. Just maybe a good steak with green pepper,” Marc Perrenoud grins. Using a reasonably fertile imagination, everyone can imagine how such pieces might then sound.
However, pianist Perrenoud, drummer Regamey and bassist Müller really did have something in mind in their latest work "Nature Boy". They are concerned with the growing ambivalence between man and nature, between the playfulness of a child and the urge of a young adult who protests against all the abuses, injustices and crimes against creation. The trio places itself in the middle of that. "We wanted to play as if we were children: naive, easily and without a plan,” Marc Perrenoud explained their common approach. "At the same time, we felt that something was happening around us that was not normal, something that people are dead set against. Because we were not directly involved in it, we just continued playing. However, it somehow colored our music. Sometimes it sounded alarming."
That is how the 35-year-old exceptional pianist describes his state of mind when he was preparing to compose the pieces for "Nature Boy” in the fateful summer of 2015. Then as now, no one can insulate himself against the terrible images that flickered on television screens every day. Countless people, regardless of whether young or old, men or women, lost their lives in their flight from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq or Somalia to Europe. "The Mediterranean became a mass grave. Suddenly its color was just black,” Marc Perrenoud explained his feelings. "And the child in us reminded us at that moment that it had once learned that the Mediterranean is allegedly the cradle of civilization. But no one wants to acknowledge something like that! It's just unbelievable!" As a result, a natural protective reflex takes hold: block out and suppress. The child tries to gain the upper hand. It tries to play. "Because playing," Perrenoud said, "is life". Survival.
With their enormous energy, three adult children try to deal with a tremendous problem on "Nature Boy". One, for which there is no rational explanation. Perrenoud, Regamey and Müller create eight songs full of energy and emotion, of course without losing control of themselves and their presentation for one second. They function perfectly as a unit, "playing" together, without egocentric introversion and define themselves solely via their position as musicians. In the title piece, they unmistakably articulate their concerns, but without letting this anxiety prevail. Other takes such as "Overseas" suggest unbridled screaming; on the other hand, "Aegean” produces a hyperactive, restless and always on-the-go effect. In "Arolla", dedicated to a mountain in the Valais, they pay tribute to the elemental force of nature and artfully weave in the signal melody with which Swiss post buses announce their coming. The relationship between nature and humans runs like a leitmotif through "Nature Boy". It permeates every theme. Marc Perrenoud, who was born in Berlin in 1981 and studied at the Geneva Conservatory and at Lausanne Jazz School, has reaped a number of awards and has performed as a solo pianist in addition to with his trio (since 2008), combines massive bursts of aggression with subtle tenderness. The result is a new, highly exciting and authentic culture of improvisation. Something that has not existed in this intensity and urgency until now.