The word "aesthetic" is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as: "Of or pertaining to the sense of the beautiful." That word is often paired with the much praised Munich-based ECM Records, a label that delves deeply into beautiful sounds. And its offerings are often (though not always) of a beauty of the spare and ethereal sort, finely nuanced, tranquil, contemplative recordings that are best appreciated by serious and undistracted listening.
Wolfert Brederode's Currents is one such recording.
The pianist's profile has been established mostly by his accompaniment of vocalist Susanne Abbuehl on April (ECM, 2001) and Compass (ECM, 2006). His stepping out onto his own with Currents reveals a young artist with an uncommon focus in a chamber jazz setting, leading a quartet of clarinet/piano/bass/drums.
Vintage Jimmy Giuffre comes to mind as a comparison to Brederode's sound, as do some of the early '50s Chico Hamilton recordings, outings that featured an equality of input from all band members, and an unhurried gentleness and gentility of approach.
All compositions here were penned by Brederode, with the exception of "As You July Me," co-written with Susanne Abbuehl. Claudio Puntin, on clarinets, blows perhaps the cleanest, clearest, prettiest musical notes imaginable. Space is also a big factor with each instrumentalist's contribution ringing in with crystalline clarity.
Currents is an extraordinarily beautiful listening experience, one best enjoyed by giving it full and undivided attention.
Track Listing: Common Fields; Empty Room; As You July Me; High & Low; With Them; Frost Flower; Scarabee; Desiderata; Soil; Ebb; Barcelona.