released March 20, 2009
Today, piano trios are being produced in excess. If one of them wants to stand out from the crowd, it has to be very good. This one is just that. In association with John Hébert, bass, Tony Moreno, drums, Friedrich weaves fine, complex tonal structures which one can associate as much with the free expressivity of a Jackson Pollock as with the romanticism of a Bill Evans.
Bert Noglik / MDR Jazzzeitung
JAZZ CD OF THE MONTH
As one can hear on its earlier albums, this trio does not idle – and this is extremely seldom in the history of jazz. Jürgen Friedrich and his American partners, John Hébert and Tony Moreno, establish themselves as one of the most interesting trios of current jazz with this coup.
Werner Stiefele Audio 2009
THIS TRIO IS ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUSLY EMPATHETIC ENSEMBLES WORKING TODAY.
One part Bill Evans mixed with one part Myra Melford plus three parts individualism. In the world of introspective, feeling, and sensitive pianists you cannot find many stronger jazz pianists than Jurgen Friedrich. He has crafted a unique style that, no matter the context and no matter who he works with, the surrounding musicians always change their playing to match this young immensely talented musician.
Hebert’s playing is absolutely spectacular throughout. He is not responsible for outlining harmonic structures but is free to play inside of those structures, elucidating a chord here or a return to tonic there just by his mere use of hints or allusions.
Moreno’s drumset work is, at most times, more about color and how he reflects on the proceedings instead of anything as banal as time keeping.
A truly great recording
Thomas R. Erdmann Jazzpreview.com
THE MAGIC OF INTERACTION
The trio made up of the pianist from Cologne, Germany, Jürgen Friedrich and the New Yorker dream team, consisting of the bassist John Hébert and drummer Tony Moreno, has been active for ten years and lives out the transatlantic entente cordially and musically. The title of their fifth CD, Pollock, refers to the US action painter, Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956), who was influential beyond the realm of painting. And in the central three recorded tracks, of eleven, the trio takes Pollock’s dynamic way of working as a productive approach. In tonal collective improvisation, the trio juggles and balances from the moment itself with much empathy, which attunes into tonal colors, melodies, texture, etc.: amazing parallels to their visual paragon! Accessible trio music in spite of its fine complexity, full of contrasts, widely diverse, independent and played at the highest level. ★★★★★
Jürg Sommer Aargauer/Mittelland/Solothurner Zeitung
ORGANIC STRUCTURES AND DRIVING PULSE
Jürgen Friedrich convinces with a tonally and compositionally excellent album.
In the jazz piano trio scene, itself amply occupied by prominent talent, this trio deserves recognition that it has found its own language. It is great how it has constantly developed this originality with a new thrust of ideas and intensity. Jürgen Friedrich has delivered us an early masterpiece with his youngest album Pollock: playful energy, tonal-harmonic complexity and the interpreters’ and composers’ experience and ability to control combine in the recording, which is also excellently recorded. The trio opens Monk’s classic “’Round Midnight” into an impressionist space and serial extrapolations, then seizes rondo and rhapsodic structures and integrates alternative contemporary pop impulses into the melodics. The well-rehearsed trio fosters a delicate harmonic architecture as well as drive and dynamics.
Rainer Beßling Kreiszeitung Syke
The German pianist Jürgen Friedrich and the Americans John Hébert (bass) and Tony Moreno (drums) are able to spark “’Round Midnight,” a pearl nearly played to death, with new facets: indeed, this represents the high point of the CD. It is impressive with which playful lightness Friedrich, who as the first European received the Gil Evans Award for Jazz Composition at 27 years of age, creates a liberated lightness. There is no tone too much, nothing seems demonstrative with all compositional sophistication. The CD exudes a relaxed, yet enthralling atmosphere. Although one is not lulled at any position by familiar cliches heard a thousand times, but rather is confronted with new ideas, one feels enshrouded by the music in a bewitching manner. The three celebrate chamber-like jazz eye to eye with the great trios of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Sound and music: ★★★★★
Reiner Nitschke Fono Forum
THERE’S AN ALLURING SENSE OF DISCOVERY ABOUT THE TRIO of Jurgen Friedrich (piano), John Hébert (bass) and Tony Moreno (drums). The group, a serendipitous accident, continues its exciting chemistry on this second Pirouet album. The dark-hued Samarkand, a wonderfully fluid Ripple, the interaction out of the brief theme for Billy No Mates or Friedrich’s lovely Over, the musical storytelling of Flauschangriff – all shun superfluous gesture. It’s a restraint that applies also to three improv interludes and, especially, to the only non-original, Round Midnight, which pulls off the difficult feat of combining respect with individuality. ★★★★★
Ray Comiskey Irish Times
CD OF THE MONTH
Jürgen Friedrich composes diametrically, on various levels. The contrasts are what attracts. An excellent pianist who knows how to oppose the flow of the elements.
Tom Fuchs Piano News
The trio has a way of playing that gets to the heart or crux of the matter.
Doug Simpson Audaud.com
The three passionate tonal painters, who act with the most valuable of all colors: heart and soul.
Reinhard Köchl Jazzthing
Pianist Jürgen Friedrich has that certain indescribable: he has his own sound.
Katharina Lohmann, Amazon Editorial Department
One will not only hear more from this pianist. One wants to hear more. Absolutely.
A fascinating piano trio CD thanks to the special coherence of the protagonists, a coherent masterpiece of interplay that has grown over many years! The trio masters the art of the tonal painting in the most wonderful colors that can shimmer and illuminate, applied here tenderly, there powerfully. Soulful music from fascinating shades of color.
Tobias Böcker Jazzzeitung