September-22nd-2010, 05:32 PM
Anat Fort Trio - And If
And If is the second ECM album from Anat Fort. Six years ago, the Israeli pianist set up a New York recording session with Perry Robinson, Ed Schuller and Paul Motian. Touched by the musical outcome, Motian recommended the project to Manfred Eicher and the recording was mixed and issued as the wryly-titled A Long Story on ECM in 2007. The album made a lot of new friends for Fort, was a modest ‘hit’ in jazz terms, and caught the attention of the world’s press. Nat Hentoff, in JazzTimes, praised Fort’s unmistakable personal voice and a music that reflected both Jewish roots and the pianist’s strong identification with jazz. In the Jewish Times, Geoffrey Himes wrote that “Anat Fort is not the first person to discover that you can understand your homeland from a distance in ways you never could while living there. But she has translated those insights into compositions and arrangements marking her as one of the most promising pianists in jazz.” There was a general consensus that here was a jazz composer-pianist with a fresh vantage point from which to view the traditions. At times the listener might catch an echo, too, of Russian music or gypsy music in the lyrical sway of things - also part of Fort’s heritage –, not that there is anything schematic about her blend of influences. She is an intuitive musician firstly: ”Whatever is different in my approach is not something that I planned to put there.”
And If carries the Fort tale forward. Where A Long Story was essentially a production project, the new disc puts the focus on Anat’s regular trio with Gary Wang and Roland Schneider, a group which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary as a working band. They have hundreds of concerts behind them, yet And If is the first recorded documentation of their trio playing.
Leader Anat Fort was born near Tel Aviv and studied classical piano as a child. Also improvising and writing her own tunes from an early age she naturally gravitated toward jazz, although her pieces were also steeped, from the outset, in the colors and atmospheres of the Middle East.
Formative influences included Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and “very much of the music on ECM” which she heard first as a teenager in the late 1980s. In the mid-1990s she came to the USA to study jazz, wanting to balance a natural tendency towards freer playing with a proper understanding of the tradition. Her teachers have included jazz greats Rufus Reid and Harold Mabern and she also studied briefly with Paul Bley. In the last several years she has become an influential figure on NYC’s alternative jazz scene, but is also a highly regarded player in her homeland. She now splits her time between Israel and the US.
Bassist Gary Wang grew up in Boston and San Francisco, moving to New York in the late 1990s. As well as being Anat’s bassist for a decade, he has played in the bands of T.S. Monk, Stanley Turrentine, Matt Wilson and many others.
Heidelberg-born drummer Roland Schneider moved from Germany to New York in 1991 to study with Billy Hart and Bill Stewart, amongst others. Now a much in-demand player on the international scene he has worked across the whole range of modern jazz, with musicians including Maynard Fergusson, Muhal Richard Abrams and Kenny Wheeler.
The new Anat Fort Trio album was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in February 2009. On And If themes and solos, written sections and improvisations flow seamlessly together in elegant and seemingly egoless jazz. Of her trio partners Wang and Schneider, Fort has said “They’re both very naturally musical, very sensitive. They know how to leave space, which is very important for me.” Indeed, a sense of space defines the collective improvising on And If.
While making a case for the trio as an autonomous force, with a program of material all penned by Fort, the album also has some strong connections to its predecessor. The center-piece of the new disc is “Something ’Bout Camels”, a ten-minute reworking of one of the pieces from A Long Story, now extended and with its theme emerging out of a patiently-developed, glistening web of interaction.
There also two variations of a piece entitled “Paul Motian”, saluting the drummer who made A Long Story possible: the piece’s melody has some of the folk-like simplicity of Motian’s tunes, and Schneider’s freely-paddling brushes flesh out the portrait.
September-23rd-2010, 03:35 AM
This is a beautiful album. So mellow and relaxing.
February-3rd-2011, 03:37 PM
What a wonderful record!!
Bought it today and now its rotating again & again in the Evening
For everyone to whom Jarrett seems here & there a little bit to excentric or boundless.
Or for those who get a little bit bored by the idea of *another piano/bass/drums -Trio Album* without deeper magic.
Or for those who are really longing for a very poetic, melodic Album - with room for quietness - without cheap romanticism ....
This may be an nice jouney for you.
Greetings from Germany, 600 km away from Munich ... but closer by heart
Last edited by TomCor; February-3rd-2011 at 03:54 PM.
February-3rd-2011, 04:08 PM
They have a US tour coming too.... they play Yoshi's Oakland Feb 15!
April-28th-2012, 07:07 AM
dying to hear a material from this trio.. they are on the top of my list as inspirations as i play the piano..
Last edited by kurtdaniel; April-29th-2012 at 11:48 PM.