Sunday, February 22, 2009

WHO Trio - Less Is More (Cleanfeed, 2009) *****

The piano trio is probably one of the most common ensembles to be heard in jazz, and truth be told, I am a little weary of them, preferring the expressiveness of a horn section. Yet once in a while, a piano trio comes forward that has something new to tell. When I listened to WHO Trio's "The Current Underneath" (Leo Records) a couple of years ago, I was immediately enchanted by the sheer musicality of the project. This one, "Less Is More", is even better. The trio consists of Michel Wintsch on piano, Gerry Hemingway on drums and Bänz Oester on bass. I have rarely come across a band who can create the perfect marriage of tension and lyricism, like this trio does. The "less is more" concept really describes the music well, there is lots of open space, but there is also tension in every note being played. Every sound is full of restraint, as if it only hints at the vast hidden world that made it possible, yet that remains unseen. Implicit music. The note that isn't played is as important as the one that is. Real beauty is revealed by suggesting it. Despite this sparsity of notes, the music itself makes sense. There is a simple beauty in it, with evolving melodic concepts, interesting compositional structures, and some extended techniques. Each piece is different, though, but all tracks fall within the same logic and supertight control. If the Japanese saying is true that beauty is "controlled passion", then this album is for sure a great example of it.

Listen to an extract

© stef


  1. well, I am dissapointed, the sample sounds like the stuff you can get on ECM all the time...
    according to your review the rest doesn't sound much different, does it?

  2. Believe me, it is nothing like ECM.

  3. ... and I added another sample.

  4. thanks, will check it out

  5. I was searching for some Gerry Hemingway cd and found this with some samples.. wonderful, cool and dark as a B&W movie soundtrack, elegant and "free"... relly not an ECM rigid canon music. Glad to read you like it too, I'm going to buy thia along with Don Cherry Montmatre live pt.III.

  6. Hi, if you like this disc, you wouldn´t must lost Aurora's Agustí fernandez, spanish pianist. Beautiful silence and power retaining poetry too. Disc praise for Marilyn crispell. Less is more remind me for moment to somenthing disc of ECM as The Ground's Tord Gustavsen, Soul of thins's Stanko and Amarillys's Crispell, but it goes to's not only scenic music.


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