Luminosity by Florian Hoefner Group, review by John McBeath
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