Sensitive Philosopher of the Keys
The pianist Mal Waldron and the saxophonist Nicolas Simion, guest artists at the Nuremburg Jazz Studio.What does a painist do to celebrate his seventieth birhtday? What he’d always been doing anyway: he plays. Maybe he’s learnt to conserve his energies, reduces to essentials, does without acrobatics on the keys, concentrates on the content. Mal Wadron, on a vist to the Nuremburg Jazz Studio didn’t have to learn all this for the first time. He always was a minimalist. He treats his piano with calculated care. One doest see him banging or hammering away. The forte suffices as a short and sharp contrast, every tremolo is circled off, the blocks of chords are the fine work of a skilled craftsman. His brand mark is the syncope. The let the chords bounce, the intervals make the music. Together with the Romanian saxophonist Nicolas Simion, who took the place of Jim Pepper in the Mal Waldron Quartet after the latter’s death four years ago, Mal Waldron inspired the audience with his fine sensitivity and deep creative philosophy on the black and white keys. He introduces himself almost like somewhat of a yo-yo player, lets the musical theme bounce back and forth with the pure pleasure of movement, until these melodic short hand signs acquire a magic life of their own. „The other Monk”, as he is also called, sets a few sparing accents: the tension mounts slowly with the dynamics, culminates in the interval - the morse code begins again from the top.
In dialogue with the equally precise saxophonist, who avoids garish colours, this musical Algebra develops and unfolds into melancholy inner perspectives. A dissimilar pair: the shy thinker and the rugged man of emotion. The one is afraid of mere effects, the other plays them out, without lapsing into gimmickry. The one is rooted in complex rhythms, the other is driven by folkloristic melodies.
What the young saxophonist puts forward is taken apart by the ageless pianist, whilst they combine forces to put the chromatic building blocks together again. Long lines and phrases distinguish the soprano saxophone player - and give away the clarinettist. His encore on the bass clarinette makes you feel like more of the same.
(Anja Barckhausen / Nuremburg News)