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Jazzenzo (Benelux)
19 June 2009
by Rinus van der Heijden

In jazz, the tuba is an instrument that fascinates and intrigues. After all, tuba players have used their instrument in improvised music with varying success. So when you take up this CD, you wonder: what is going to happen?

The answer is crystal-clear: a lot. Norwegian tuba player Daniel Herskedal is nothing short of a miracle, which is mainly brought about by his perfect mastery of the instrument. Include his (youthful) imagination and you already have an interesting CD.

However, Herskedal is just one of the three components of this captivating album: the other two are Bert Lochs and Dirk Balthaus. This trio manages to sound as one, without giving just one of its members the leading role. Through this, the individual qualities of each member are extensively magnified, and their quest for each other's skills makes this album extremely exciting.

Take pianist Dirk Balthaus, for instance. At some points he manifests himself as a strong connecting force between the trumpet and the tuba; while at others he sheds his intermediary skin and plays, often quite frugal, underneath the others.

Tuba player Herskedal, as you would expect from such an instrument, often lingers in the low register. Subsequently, he crawls upwards and interferes with the trumpet and the piano. Bert Lochs has a very distinct sound, on the trumpet as well as on the flugelhorn. The latter often sways together with the tuba in a rather veiled way; while his trumpet frolics through the music, draws long lines and shrieks out musical hints to the others.

All this is assembled in ten very personal, refreshing compositions. LochsBalthausHerskedal: highly recommended.

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