Christoph Stiefel Live!
‘Live!’ captures the trio (with bassist Thomas Lähns and drummers Lionel Friedli and Kevin Chesham) liberated from the restrictions of the studio in Saalfelden, Amburg and Munchen. Stiefel feels that this collection contains ‘rhythmic complexity but also soul and sensitivity. There is also quite a portion of wildness.’ The album summarises and develops eight years of work with the trio and finds the musicians reaching remarkable levels of empathy and interaction.
A sensitive touch and reflective mood characterises Stiefel’s work here, most notably the haunting title track. Sometimes, particularly on Olympus Mons, the approach is more tempestuous. Stiefel never allows sophisticated concepts such as Isorhythms to detract from the music itself, writing striking melodies and affecting harmonic sequences for which his rhythmic ideas serve as support or contrast. In addition to the angular groove of Isorhythm #2.2, there is the eloquent lyricism of New Waltz For Nina. Stiefel’s first musical interests were in blues and R&B and he draws inspiration from both within and beyond the jazz tradition.
This music is a thrilling first chapter in Stiefel’s relationship with UK audiences and an exciting advance in forging connections between the UK jazz scene and European artists. Stiefel will tour in the UK with German bassist Arne Huber and Kevin Chesham (drums)