Single "EMPTY WALTZ" out now on all digital platforms!
The Berlin pianist and composer Jan Gerdes, a renowned interpreter of classical-romantic as well as contemporary piano music, has garnered significant attention for his performances of works by many outstanding composers of our time. In addition to his project "rand" for piano and electronics, whose album "Periphérie" released in September 2022 received excellent reviews, he has also created a series of piano compositions and songs over the past few years, along with a full-length solo piano project called "Songs and Improvisations."
Jan Gerdes' music reflects his classical roots and influences from contemporary music and jazz, yet his pieces are surprisingly new and not easily categorized stylistically. "Songs and Improvisations" oscillates between the musical worlds of classical, jazz and contemporary music, starting from fully composed or sketched thematic cells and ranging from sensually intimate to rhythmically pulsating, all while maintaining improvisational freedom.
The fact that his music maintains improvisational freedom adds an exciting dimension to the listening experience, allowing for spontaneity and creativity within a structured framework. It's evident that Jan Gerdes' work is a fusion of various musical influences, making it appealing to a wide range of music enthusiasts.
For instance, the opening piece, "Empty Waltz," is a melancholic jazz waltz, while "Permanent Green" spans a wide range from repetitive patterns at the beginning to a Bach reference and an ornamental-improvisational, phrygian solo. There are lyrical pieces like "November," reminiscent of a Chopin Nocturne, or "Fussgänger," the delicate "Fragile," which eventually transitions into open orchestral territory. Groovy pieces with shades of a minor blues influence, such as "Giama Times," take daring contemporary directions in their middle sections. Pieces like the motoric "Kerben," the quintuple meter-driven "Five Cuts," and "Im Raum stets sichtbar" are based on fast rhythmic patterns, emphasizing their connection to jazz. Even the romantically turbulent "Verweht" starts with an ostinato in five-four time and dissolves into ethereal heights. Finally, "Saif" chisels repetitive chords at the beginning, over which an ecstatic hymn-like melody gradually rises before fading away.
The release of "Songs and Improvisations" is a significant milestone, and it will likely be eagerly anticipated by fans of piano music and those interested in innovative and genre-blurring compositions. It's always exciting to see artists pushing the boundaries of musical expression and exploring new directions within their craft. Jan Gerdes seems to be doing just that with his upcoming album.
Album Release on 8th of December on XJAZZ! Music