Live album from Top Swiss jazz pianist and his dynamic, groovy isorhythms. Live! is the first UK album from top Swiss pianist Christoph Stiefel's Inner Language Trio. It is the first time Basho has released music from an all-European ensemble. Many of Stiefel's pieces use the compositional device of Isorhythms, a concept dating from the middle ages but which leads to a very contemporary sound. With Isorhythms, the melodic and accompanying parts do not have to follow each other. 'Live!' captures the trio (with bassist Thomas Lähns and drummers Lionel Friedli and Kevin Chesham) liberated from the restrictions of the studio in Saalfelden, Amburg and Munchen. Stiefel feels that this collection contains 'rhythmic complexity but also soul and sensitivity. There is also quite a portion of wildness.' The album summarises and develops eight years of work with the trio and finds the musicians reaching remarkable levels of empathy and interaction. This music is a thrilling first chapter in Stiefel's relationship with international audiences and an exciting advance in forging connections between European artists and the wider world.
'Christoph Stiefel a 51 year-old pianist, composer, arranger and producer from Switzerland is a rhythmically adventurous performer fascinated by the interplay of grooves. Several of the tracks include the Greek-derived term Isorhythm in their titles, referring to patterns of pitches against repeating rhythms that surfaced in 14th-century European music and in Indian forms. But there's nothing stuffily academic about these live sessions from 2011. The opening Isorhythm 4 launches a fast melody over a storming baroque-like left-hand figure, and Isorhythm 2.2 is a spiky, prodding theme against vicious rimshot cracks and a full-bodied bass counterpoint. Slow episodes like New Waltz for Nina, Eliane and the impressionistic Cosmos have a gentleness that reveal Stiefel's nuanced touch is equal to his up-tempo fluency. Some tracks storm off like a scary drive on an unlit road but then turn into a tiptoe through the forest, while Pensar Positivo and In and Out of Order have a playfully hypnotic bounce.' --Guardian * * * *