Standards and Other Stories
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Hubert Nuss is known as a consummate artist, having recorded over 50 albums with the likes of Till Brönner, Charlie Mariano, and Chris Walden. Standards is the fifth album under his own name, all trio CDs with bassist John Goldsby and drummer John Riley. The three first met in Cologne. Nuss remembers that Riley "told me after a jam session, 'let's do something together.'" They've been "doing something together" since 1997. Audio Magazine called the trio's first PIROUET CD Feed The Birds "An invitation to a dream-like voyage into a Utopian world"; All About Jazz depicted their PIROUET CD The Book of Colours as "...explorations of nuance, subtlety, and refined, delicate beauty undertaken by the pianist and his trio-mates", and C. Michael Bailey called it "great and moody stuff". Nuss reflects about his music, "I'm looking for depth and beauty." On this, his third PIROUET CD, Nuss has found what he was looking for.
Hubert Nuss has stayed with the same musicians "...because they can play! Goldsby's name reflects his playing – pure gold. He's got the sound, the ears, the time, and he knows harmony! He makes gold out of everything I play. The same with John Riley." Goldsby's playing credits include John Hicks, Michael Brecker, and John Lewis, while Riley has played and recorded with such diverse jazz greats as Woody Herman and Kenny Werner, and has won Grammys with Bob Mintzer as well as the legendary Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. All three players have spent time with Cologne's prestigious WDR Big Band.Nuss points out that when he records, his objective is not to sell a product, promote a tour, or document a specific period. That being said, "I really love records. I try to make a record like a picture, a painting, a book or a story I can go back to." Influenced by Messiaen and Tournemire as well as Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner, Ellington and Coltrane, Nuss seeks to "...to incorporate these visionary, almost mystic colors in my jazz playing."
Nuss chose the standards "First of all because I am familiar with them, which gives me a lot of freedom." As for Someday My Prince Will Come, Hubert says that he has always liked Disney songs – there are two songs from Disney movies on his CD Feed the Birds. Someday begins and ends with beautifully astringent chords, while the haunting intro to Body And Soul melds into the theme, with chords that move from European modern to blues inflections. As for the compositions by three jazz legends, Nuss says, "They are composed by some of my all-time favorite jazz musicians, which happen to be all very influential composers. It's a brave man who is willing to set some altered chords to Herbie Hancock's suspended chord classic, Maiden Voyage, but it more than works. There's the trio's majestic interpretation of Bill Evans' Time Remembered, and Nuss and Co demonstrates the timeless quality of Thelonious Monk's music in Let's Cool One, as Nuss honors rather than imitates Monk's feel for chords and phrasing.
Nuss says of his own compositions, "They all tell different stories that were deep enough to be told in a musical way." His Tiffy has something of the darkness-and-light fantasy world of childhood, and there's a catchy wayward rhythm to his On The Way; it's a piece to travel on or take a journey with. Nuss explains that On The Road With Lino/Traumnovelle Ouverture and The Inevitability of Change/Traumnovelle Finale were used as opener and finale for Traumnovelle, "...a deep story by Viennese writer Arthur Schnitzler. This dramatic reading, which I wrote music for, was produced, initiated and inspired by actor Sebastian Koch." It is also the Novella on which Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut is based. Ouverture travels forward with the feel of a romantic classic, whereas Finale ends the album as an introspective ballad. Although the three have worked intermittently together for over two decades, Nuss remarks that, "As soon as we meet it is like we had just parted the day before. After the current session I mentioned to Riley that in all those years we happened to create a band sound. 'Yes, we are a band!', he replied." And what a band!