Luminosity by Florian Hoefner Group, review by John McBeath


Album:  Luminosity
Artist:   Florian Hoefner Group
Release Date: 2016
Label:    Origin

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Although German pianist – now Canada-based – Florian Hoefner has played at major festivals throughout Europe, appeared on ten previous recordings, and toured extensively in the US and Canada, he’s not as well known in Australia as he deserves to be. This new album by his quartet, recorded in New York features Australian bassist Sam Anning, with drummer Peter Kronreif, and saxophonist Seamus Blake.

These eight tracks display not only Hoefner’s composing ability, but also his quite stunning performance in a unified work of thought-provoking components and altered rhythmic content. Newfound Jig, based on an Irish jig, but given post-bop attitude, brings impetus to Blake’s tenor solo, powerfully driven by hyperactive drums and dynamic bass ahead of Hoefner’s tension-building piano.

The title track has a serene 5/4 feel explored by the leader’s extravagantly pensive excursion to introduce Blake’s gradually stoking solo on soprano sax, while The Bottom Line opens with a bop-infused bass and tenor sax unison passage before Blake’s solo launches into take-off.

In a slow tempo The Narrows demonstrates Hoefner’s melodic capabilities, both in the balladic composition and his organic interpretation; Blake and Anning also deliver expressive solos. Drums and piano interact well throughout In Circles both during Hoefner’s solo and forming a substructure for Blake’s tenor sax to traverse mounting passion. A slower tempo also aids the rural atmosphere of North Country where the tenor sax floats lazily over flowing piano, and Anning’s bass solo adds dimension.

A fine collection of compositions interpreted with deep expression and highly skilled group integration

Review originally published by the Australian

For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.