Thursday, September 26, 2013

Julia Hulsmann Quartet, In Full View

German pianist Julia Hulsmann gathers a quartet together for her third ECM album, In Full View (ECM B0018446-02). I missed the first two, both trio outings, but the new one is something I am very glad to be hearing.

If there is a "cool school" alive today, much of it has been spawned by ECM artists. In Full View is one of the finest examples of the new, introspectively internalized yet vividly communicating jazz sets one can hear.

Trumpet master Tom Arthurs brings a quiet intensity to the outfit, with a post-Wheeler kind of purity of tone and a way around the tonalities of the quartet's compositions represented here. Julia is thoughtful and in no way anemic, perhaps impressionist may be a word that works for her performances. The solid rhythm-team foundations of Marc Muellbauer on double bass and Heinrich Kobberling on drums do much to set up the two-person front line, to reinforce the melodic-harmonic-time grounding, to set off the beautiful playing of Hulsmann and Arthurs.

All band members contribute compositions and they set the mood well. Julie Hulsmann is onto a group sound that quietly fills your listening being with intrinsically musical content, nicely turned musicianship of a high order. This one is different enough that you need to return to it several times to fully adjust. It's quite beautiful.

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