About the album
Soo Cho: piano | Daniel Lottersberger: double bass | Sotiris Ntouvas: drums | Angelo Verploegen: trumpet and fluegelhorn
Soo Cho, pianist, composer, bandleader, organizer. In which order it is hard to say. I know very few people who work so consistently and persistently on creating their own musical universe. Her musical language is one of sensitivity, of natural lyricism that is truly striking. She dares to use space and time to linger, a quality that seems to have become quite rare nowadays. And in all its’ modesty both Soo’s music and personality can be very persuasive too, as shown in the unconditional commitment of her trio members and myself. To me it’s always heartwarming and encouraging to see how music in general, and in this case Soo Cho’s music specifically, cuts across different nationalities, backgrounds, and generations. Here’s a South Korean pianist in her ‘thirties, an Austrian bass player in his late ‘twenties, a Greek drummer in his early ‘twenties, sticking together for years now, making this original music work. And although Soo’s music isn’t that easy to play, I (Dutch trumpeter in his ‘forties) felt immediately at home joining this band, a bunch of serious youngsters with the right attitude and a good sense of humor.
In a way Soo’s trio concept derives from Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau. All trio components are strongly emancipated. Piano, bass and drums share a collective responsibility for melody, harmony and rhythm. Note, for example, the melodic role for the bass in September Moon or its rhythmic function in Prayer, one of my personal favorites from the Soo Cho Songbook. Also noteworthy is the absence of open solo space in some of the songs, like Chicky Chicky (named after Soo’s cat) or Breeze. On the other hand the key element of improvisation is used very effectively in for example the introduction of Dreamer, as is the use of odd meter as in Empty Carousel. A slightly different pace is set in Suspicion and New Chapter. It’s a real treat playing with Sotiris, Daniel and Soo, finding myself in an environment of musical warmth, intimacy and integrity, finding myself surrounded by such intelligent and sensitive players. I sincerely hope that you will feel the same listening to this debut album by the Soo Cho Trio.