Stephan Noël Lang p
Robin Draganic b / Rainer Winch dr
03 Here's To Joy
06 Lily Of The Valley
08 Mr. R.M.
09 You Don't Know What Love Is
10 What's My Name?!
13 - Bonustrack: 16-Bar-blues
Recorded at Greve Studio, Berlin,
on July 15 to 17, 2002.
The drummer counts in and the band begins to play, medium tempo, funky and relaxed. The bass and piano are sliding into their grooves and a short riff develops into the bluesy theme of Allright!, the opening number of the trio’s debut CD. In this original composition pianist Stephan Noël Lang pays homage to the Soul-Jazz of the 1960s.
Twelve of the 13 pieces on this CD were composed by Stephan Noël Lang. His influences are many and varied, informed by baroque and French impressionism as well as by soul and latin. This mixture can take time to ferment and some of these pieces, such as ‘Echoes’ or ‘VerLangen’, developed over years until they were ready to be recorded. As a pianist Stephan Noël Lang stands out through his creative melodic style with rhythmic and dynamic variety, and a liking for pandiatonic harmonies.
Kallipygos is a composition in 7/4 time. The trio interprets this demanding piece with dynamic grace. Here’s to joy is well served by its title: a celebration of uplifting emotion featuring a rising bassline and radiant major chords.
Parting brings us mixed emotions, Shakespeare’s sweet sorrow. This is the earliest of the original compositions. After a short introduction the ballad theme begins with a shimmering chord. The same polychord, described by Robin Draganic as ‘frozen sound’ ends the piece.
The title piece Echoes is based on a single short motif, the sequence e-d-g-f. The theme develops with impressionistic, classical and baroque flavouring before seamlessly meta-mor-phosising into a trio improvisation. Finally, the theme is played as a lamento.
Lily of the valley on the other hand, takes up the mood from ‘Here’s to joy’. The listener can follow the motific development of the melody as it unfolds.
VerLangen (Longing) is a multi-layered piece which contains echoes of Tango Nuevo. The improvisational excursions take place within the framework of a minor theme which culminates in a lively major. The piece ends with a vamp which alternates between major and minor.
MR. R.M. is dedicated to the legendary Dutch multi-instrumentalist and Composer Rob Madna (1931-2003), Lang’s teacher at the Amsterdam Conservatory.
You don’t know what love is is the only composition which was not penned by Lang. This ballad from the Great American Songbook has been recorded on numerous occasions. The trio interpret the song in their own personal and lyrical way.
What’s my name?! is a tribute to ‘the greatest’ Muhammad Ali. The music floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee ending with a punch...
Prolog is a free improvisation and leads to the final piece. This Afro-Cuban groove is appositely titled Goodbye. ‘Echoes’ was recorded in a relaxed studio situation. Stephan Noël Lang, Robin Draganic and Rainer Winch play intensely, yet the mood is not forced. This is a trio in which the members understand each other intuitively and the listener can tune in to their joyous vibe.
For the composer and pianist Lang, the piano trio offers the possibility to be inventive and varied in a minimal setting. As he says »my aim isn’t primarily to create something ‘new’, I’m more interested in personal expression, drawing influence from all sources.«
The Stephan Noël Lang Trio presents with ‘Echoes’ a modern colourful microcosm sending the listener on a journey of discovery until the final note.
(translation: Marc Thomas)