Samuel Blasser (tb), Malcolm Braff (p)
Bar code: 8427328423328
"Musician of the year 2013"
-The New York City Jazz Record
"#7 trombonist of the year 2013"
-Downbeat Critics Poll
"Trombonist of the year 2013"
-El Intruso, Argentina
The Braff-Blaser Duo is probably one of the most outstanding duos in Europe. Trombonist Samuel Blaser is joined by the incledible pianist Malcolm Braff. Together, they explore all the possibilities of their instruments and allow you to discover the amazing marriage of their talents. The duo offers a unique flavor which consists of rhythmic complexity taken from African folk songs and harmony influenced by Gospel and American classics.
"Samuel Blaser is well on his way to claiming a prominent place in the forefront of jazz. A stellar debut, 7th Heaven reveals Blaser as an artist of great promise."
-All About Jazz
"At twenty-six years, Blaser communicates musical maturity that is far beyond the norm. A masterful technician and forward-thinking idea man, the trombonist conveys an uncanny manner of bridging dark, brooding passages with an overriding sense of vibrancy."
"Che strana combinazione! Un pianista brasiliano ed un trombonista svizzero. La terra del sole e del samba, dell'esuberanza e delle trasgressioni del carnevale di Rio, delle favelas e delle garote de Ipanema incontra la rigorosità fatta sistema, la neutralità non solo militare ma anche come filosofia di vita. Ma, si sa, a volte sono proprio le strane combinazioni a dare i risultati migliori.
Prendete l'iniziale "Yay" una lunga, ipnotica cavalcata, una sorta di danza tribale segnata dal martellante operare del pianoforte e dai fantasiosi, sinuosi movimenti del trombone. Quando l'esecuzione sembra arenarsi in una eccessiva staticità ecco che i ruoli si invertono, rilanciando il brano con nuova energia e nuove coloriture. Mentre ad una "Caravan" terrosa, scura, quasi ossessiva nella sua insistenza sui registri medio bassi, segue la magica sospensione di "Manon" (piccolo gioiello di Serge Gainsbourg), una sorta di notturno chopiniano tutto nuances e delicatezze.
Il pregio di YaY sta proprio in questa capacità di scivolare tra ritmi tribali e rilassate atmosfere, cadenze folkoriche e squarci di musica colta, echi gospellizzanti e momenti di libera improvvisazione. Nonostante la dimensione del duo, YaY possiede un'energia contagiosa grazie anche alle qualità dei due musicisti. Braff sciorina un pianismo ritmicamente esuberante che non disdegna incursioni in aree di estrema libertà, dal canto suo Blaser mette pulizia di timbro e facilità di fraseggio al servizio di una fantasia inesauribile."
Vincenzo Roggero -All About Jazz
"I first became aware of trombonist Samuel Blaser with the advent of his superfine, progressive-jazz date 7th Heaven for the Germany-based, Between The Lines record label. Here, the artist aligns with the very physical Brazil reared pianist Malcolm Braff who is a musician that has performed with trumpeter Eric Truffaz and bassist Alex Blake. On this effort, the duo projects an acute balance, spanning structured song-forms and improvisation, largely topped off with memorable hooks.
The album title refers to the union of ivory (piano) and slide (trombone). No doubt, theyve crafted a cohesive musical relationship via pumping grooves and buoyant undercurrents. Blaser morphs sonorous lines with cunning improvisational phrasings in concert with Braffs powerful chord clusters and shrewdly enacted rhythmic maneuvers.
Marked by quite a bit of pop and sizzle, the duo tones it down in spots, yet execute a thrusting rendition of Caravan, where the artists redefine the primary theme via swerving dialogues and gobs of counterpoint. In other regions of sound, they delve into bluesy, and soul-drenched motifs amid avant-garde style workouts. Hence, they expand, contract and explore.
The harmonically endearing title track YaY, is the album opener, and they close it out with the same piece, which was recorded at a live venue. In sum, the musicians convey a great deal of poise and strength flex while rendering strong compositions that impart a lasting impression. Its a standout release, indeed."
Glenn Astarita -Jazzreview.com
"Trombonist Samuel Blaser has been making a name for himself for the last few years, building a reputation for inventive improvisations and inspired virtuosity. He has been in constant motion, splitting his time between New York and his adopted Germany, having found his way to the States via a Fulbright Scholarship. He has been active as a composer and bandleader, with a wonderful quartet release on the Between The Lines label and more material on the way from Clean Feed. Blaser is also active as a sideman, working with artists as disparate as Dub pioneer Lee "Scratch" Perry and the legendary avant-big band the Vienna Art Orchestra. Blaser's proficient and creative playing is featured on two great recent discs, one led by saxist Peter Van Huffel and the other featuring the duo of Blaser and Brazilian pianist Malcolm Braff.
One might expect a piano/trombone duo to be dominated by lyricism and melody, with perhaps little more than a passing flare for rhythmic intrigue. However, on YaY, detailed rhythmic framework takes the listener down an unexpected but assured path, full of momentum and drive, while never straying far from tonality. Braff was raised in Dakar, Senegal and the multifaceted rhythmic layering of West African music distinguishes the duo's approach. Blaser and Braff evoke percussion traditions on pieces like Braff's title track and "Yele," while nodding towards American jazz and gospel music on tunes like their very buoyant take on Duke Ellington's "Caravan" and Blaser's soulful "Uncle Sam". Braff's prepared piano and Blaser's extended trombone vocabularies expand the textural palette, while at the same time highlighting the rhythmic aspects of the duo's interactions. At times, the sonic density and variance in texture are so striking, it sounds like there are more than two musicians. The interactions remain nuanced and intricate, with sublimely delicate moments balanced with a general penchant for pursuant momentum.
Saxophonist Peter Van Huffel and vocalist Sophie Tassignon's new release, Hufflignon, features compositions by both musicians, brought to life by an unusual quartet of trombone, woodwinds, voice and contrabass. Huffel and Blaser are often teamed up with intricately-voiced melodies, while bassist Michael Bates alternates between foundational support, textural bowing and thoughtful melodic statements. Tassignon's singing is quite versatile; on more structured pieces like "Thoughts And Memories" and the opener, "Dégringolade," she exhibits horn-like melodic and rhythmic dexterity, while at other times her voice wanders through a labyrinthine maze of amorphous syllabic abstractions. Two examples of the latter approach include "Landscape (morning)" and "The Sad Imposing Tree," both of which provide wonderfully abstract sound worlds. That isn't to say that the music is at all dualistic; rather, the abstractions and melodies react nicely together, creating a unified sonic environment that moves freely between steady pulse and more introspective arrangements of sound. Tassignon's piece "Nervous Breakdown" veers closer to the careening chamber improvisation of the Paul Bley/Steve Swallow-era Jimmy Giuffre 3, with a dexterous solo from Blaser. Van Huffel's playing throughout is richly nuanced, with melody and texture seamlessly integrated to create colorful and evocative statements."
Wilbur MacKenzie -All About Jazz