- 2Early Spring05:19
- 4Work in Progress04:08
- 5The Beginning of a Dream06:37
- 6And So05:11
- 9In Love in Hanoï05:44
- 11Au Desert03:44
Info for Clouds
“Europe is different, every country is different,” says violinist Adam Bałdych, “but music is a language which can bring us together, to one place.” He, Dutch pianist Rogier Telderman and French cellist Vincent Courtois combine and juxtapose their different sounds and heritages. That is the central concept behind the trio of equals that they formed two years ago. “We have three very different personalities, we each bring very different colours,” says Bałdych.
The group gave its inaugural concert at a festival which carries a strong European mission in its name: the artistic director of the ‘Sounds of Europe Festival’ which had it very first edition in Breda in Holland in February 2018 gave Dutch pianist Rogier Telderman carte blanche to form a new ensemble, and the pianist chose to invite Bałdych and Courtois. They rehearsed for a day before their festival debut.
“It was enjoyable right from the start,” remembers Rogier Telderman. Following their first concert, it was clear that all three members, each of whom normally leads ensembles in his own right, was thinking ‘we should do this more often’. And then, as they proceeded to play concerts together, the mutual respect, the mutual listening, the willingness to experiment grew: “We have brought those differences to the point where we all feel comfortable sharing, writing - and each of us writes very differently,” says Telderman, who also enjoys the challenge of working in an ensemble with such strong characters: “These are personalities who are always pushing you, following their intuition, taking you in new directions.”
This trio project, and this album, recorded over two days at La Buissonne studios in the South of France, have allowed Adam Bałdych to accentuate a particular aspect of his playing. Whereas virtuoso violinists of the past were almost condemned to play a lot of notes, the instrument makes very different demands on the modern virtuoso: “to inhabit different moods – to make each note have its own story,” explains Bałdych. On this album I wanted to play less than ever before.” That tendency towards economy of expression is clear from the very opening of the album. Bałdych’s composition “Clouds” is reflective, personal and intimate. It is a delicate sound world recalling the chamber music of Polish composers who were also violinists such as Karol Szymanowski and Grazyna Bacewicz. There is deep melancholy, but within it is a particular kind of hopefulness and optimism, a desire to move forwards and create flow. And that is an aspect of the group’s work that has appealed to critics who have heard the band live: “The music unfolded completely instinctively, over and over again,” wrote Jazznu after a concert in Tilburg.
One particular sound colour from Bałdych is prominent in this recording, the renaissance violin, most notably on the short track “Interlude” and in Courtois’ tune “In Love In Hanoï” which follows it. It is a modern instrument with gut strings, tuned a seventh below the normal violin and a third below the viola. What enchants Bałdych about this instrument? “The bigger sustain. When you play it pizzicato, the sound lasts forever!”
For Vincent Courtois the instrumental combination of violin, cello and piano has very positive associations. He remembers a formative experience which opened him up as a musician. In his late twenties he was invited to play at the New Jazz Meeting at Baden-Baden with violinist Dominique Pifarély and pianist Joachim Kühn, he has said of that encounter: “I suddenly started to play improvised music and real cello music with a big sound like in the classical music. It changed my point of view. I started to mix everything and to be a complete cello player and not just a jazz cellist.” Two decades later, his playing on this album has true authority and a wonderful lyrical sense.
Rogier Telderman, who also produced the album, is a pianist of outstanding capabilities whose clear ideas and clean articulation marry classical training to jazz attack and blue note-laden expression. And, as a reviewer from Jazzenzo noted after a performance by the group in Utrecht, this trio has been transformational for him: “He is a true keyboard wizard who has come on by leaps and bounds with his piano trio […] he has found a new form with Bałdych and Courtois.” Telderman is well known in Holland, and this venture will bring him to a wider audience.
Bałdych, Courtois and Telderman have found together a range of expression that is both measured and exuberant. In ‘Clouds’ they create magic with the ultimate quality of all great music: the ability to call the listener back to enjoy its enfolding glories again and again.
"Without doubt the greatest living master of violin in jazz. His potential knows no bounds," wrote the FAZ after the celebrated performance of the Polish violinist Adam Bałdych at the 2011 Jazzfest Berlin. On "Imaginary Room", his first album for the ACT label, we hear a jazz violinist like none has ever been experienced before: there is no wailing and sobbing, indeed, Bałdych's technically breath-taking lines are more reminiscent of those of a brass instrument, and the polyphonic passages, of a pianist's chords, always underpinned by a somewhat raw, bluesy undertone. He caused a furore at the JazzBaltica 2012 and the Montreux Jazz Festival, leaving no doubt that Europe has a new jazz star. Combining aspects of different musical styles and époques, Bałdych lives up to this high promise.
Adam Bałdych, violin & renaissance violin
Vincent Courtois, cello
Rogier Telderman, piano
Recorded December 9 & 10, 2019 at La Buissonne Studios by Gérard de Haro, Pernes-les-Fontaines, France
Mixed by Gérard de Haro and Rogier Telderman
Mastered by Wessel Oltheten
"Without any doubt the greatest living jazz violinist. One can expect everything from him." Ulrich Olshausen from German newspaper „Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung“ about Adam Bałdych’s concert at Jazzfest Berlin 2011. Bałdych was born in Gorzów Wlkp in Poland in 1986.
His outstanding talent was detected early. He was celebrated a prodigy in Poland. “By the age of 9 I decided to visit a school of music” he remembers. He already was well aware of his home country’s music tradition. “Poland has a great music tradition, especially referring to piano music and since Henryk Wieniawski also referring to violin playing.” Only by the age of 11 he decided to start playing the violin with great role models in mind: “I was very much influenced by the famous East-European composers, such as Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Tschaikowski.“ A number of awards for young musicians in classical music proof his talent: In 1999 he became third in Polish national violinist competition in Poznan. The same year he was awarded the first price at regional violinist competition in Szczecin and at Baroque music competition in Gorzow.
By the age of 13 he finally decided to play Jazz. “Jazz offered me the musical freedom, I was searching for.” A noteworthy series of awards followed: In 2002 he won the „Jazz Celebration“ competition in Gorzów. Since 2001 he was annually awarded the „Key for Career Award“ by renowned Polish magazine “Jazz Forum”.
By the age of 16 his international career began. He toured through Europe and Asia. After finishing his jazz degree with merit at Kattowitz conservatory, he got a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Ever since, New York is the place of departure for his musical journey through the world. In recent years he was touring with Grammy-award-winning pianist Jim Beard, other famous violinists like Didier Lockwood, Pierre Blanchard, Jerry Goodman, Krzesimir Debski or Christian Howes and he participated in Jaroslaw Smietana’s project „Tribute to Seifert“. He himself recorded several noteworthy albums in different collaborations –with Singer Mika Urbaniak or the „Groove Razors“. On his album “Magical Theatre“ he also dealt with author Herman Hesse’s famous novel “Der Steppenwolf”. He first gained international attention with his band “Damage Control”.
Besides his regular work for international theatre- and film productions, and even though he partly lives in the US, Bałdych always stays in touch with Polish musicians. It therefore is no wonder that Polish piano star and ACT-artist Leszek Możdżer got to know Bałdych in 2008. Together they wrote the soundtrack to the movie “Sir Arnes Schatz” by Swedish director Mauritz Stiller. Możdżer hereupon introduced Bałdych to ACT head Siggi Loch. Loch did not hesitate to ask Bałdych to join the ACT family.
Together with Loch and Nils Landgren as the producers and a first-class studio band, Bałdych started to record his ACT debut “Imaginary Room” (ACT 9532-2) in March 2012 at Hansa Studios in Berlin. Lars Danielsson, one of the leading bass players in contemporary jazz, drummer Morten Lund and Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon form the rhythm section. Two of the greatest talents in Scandinavian jazz –trumpet player Verneri Pohjola and Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset make up the brass section.