At First (Ilk Music; 2013)
Per Mollehoj (guitar)
Tapani Toivanen (bass)
Andreas Fryland (drums)
The debut album from the Soren Gemmer Quartet, At First, is one of those unassuming albums that lays everything out for you--quietly, smoothly and elegantly. The pianist got a late start to playing music but has blended a love of classical tradition with melodic jazz structures to create a engrossingly beauty first session.
"Russians" opens the album with a soft but propelling drum beat and fully framed lines from Gemmer. The expressionism the quartet exude is exciting and fresh. Mollehoj's guitar perfectly blends with trio giving the group a distinct quality that sets them slightly apart from many of their contemporaries within the region.
An intense opening passage between Mollehoj and Fryland on "Dear W." (written by Fryland) allows the listener the chance to experience the full dynamics of the quartet. Each performer shines with their dedicated section. But all revolving back towards the center in the closing cords.
Heavy keys and dense patterns mark the title track. With some enveloping chords that feel like a chamber piece but yet filled with vitality. You can sense this is a session and piece in particular, is one that the quartet are enjoying greatly.
The harmonics and subtle colour that Soren Gemmer adds to each piece is wonderful to hear. At First is an invigorating debut that is easy to fall in love quickly. A lush and moving work for any music fan. Start listening now...