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Reviews: Harmen Fraanje Quartet: Sonatala

Reviews: 2

Site review by Southern SACD Fan September 25, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
They do things differently in Holland. (Although I’m no expert, I’ve never been there.) For starters the “Harmen Fraanje Quartet featuring Nelson Veras” consists of four players. The quartet includes (and “features”) Nelson Veras rather than being an existing jazz quartet with a guest player. Also, apart from names and acknowledgements on the SACD cover sheet, there are exactly nineteen words of text – someone else saying that they like this music. This is hardly helpful if you are in a shop and frying to figure out whether to buy this or not. Any way I wasn’t in a shop I bought it on line. In fact I cannot quite remember why I bought this disk, it was either because I was intrigued by the title – I thought it might be jazz based on a classical form, or it was because I could download short clips of some of the tracks and get a feel for the music. The later is just as well as the listed websites have precious little information about the group or recording either.

Sonatala is a disk of a traditional jazz trio with an added guitarist – the “featured” Nelson Veras. The combination is very pleasant to listen to with the Jazz trio off setting the guitar very well – why hasn’t this been done more often before? All too often great guitarists seem to play solo which is fine for one or two tracks but can be a bit of an earful for a whole disk – even with really great players.

Musically I rate both the composition and playing very highly. The styles vary enormously, at times there seems to be very careful composition such as in track 1, Sonatala, and yes it does have classical elements. At other times the composition seems more modern jazz and spontaneous with little classical background. I would guess a few of the tracks were simply improvised in the studio. In many of the tracks the piano and guitar are to the forefront with backing by the bass and drums. However, track 4, Mokka sets the bass and drums free for a good blast of the lower registers. Very enjoyable music, I would like to hear more recordings from the Harmen Fraanje quartet.

Finally the sound… BRAVO! A paradigm of clarity. Although recorded in 2003, this disk sets standards that other labels would do well to emulate.

They may do things differently in Holland bit in this case, it has been done very well. If you like jazz this is a showcase SACD.

Review by DeSelby February 13, 2005 (1 of 4 found this review helpful)
Sonics:
stereo sonics: good, warm sound

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