In retrospect, when I think about music particularly jazz I usually hear it from an abstract prospective. In other words, the seed is planted by the author to generate innovative, alluring melodies and stimulating progressions. From this point, creativity follows to develop a sequence of patterns, colors, and shapes. These of course are the essential elements formulated to create a montage of eclectic, cultured and emotional nuances nurtured from the heart, spirit and soul of the writer. With that said, these are among many reasons I’m elated to introduce a remarkably fresh voice in jazz the Florian Hoefner Group and their latest offering fittingly titled “Songs Without Words.”
Currently based in New York, German born pianist Florian Hoefner scored and arranged all compositions on this project, he also held down production duties as well. Furthermore, this accomplished pianist is a two-time winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. With this project, the creative genius of Hoefner is revealed, he serves up eight distinctive originals for music fans and jazz enthusiasts alike to enjoy.
With all the proper education and accolades acquired Hoefner has earned his stripes as a musician and composer on the road to “Songs without Words.” From the onset, his voice speaks with gentle and buoyant tones framed by a multi-colored hue of palpable layers outlined on the opening track “Cross Hill.”
The post-bop flavored “Uncertain Times” uncovers the progressive side of Hoefner’s penmanship composition wise and spawns a fresh and intense sound. This piece calls on saxophonist Mike Ruby to step out and provides him plenty of room to stretch his voice on tenor. Ruby shares the space well with the group, together as an ensemble they absolutely rip it up! At the third spot, the mournful yet sublime melodies of “Sometimes” penetrate through the cavity of the song with a quiet, expressive and brighten tonality for music lovers to indulge.
“Song of The Past” slowly increases in tempo and creates an enjoyable Mediterranean like vibe. The next piece “Distraction,” opens with a gentle sway rhythmically while influenced harmonically by a rush of classical voicing’s interface smoothly. Soloist Ruby plays the soprano yet his voice modulates similarly to the clarinet, the music builds to evoke a sonata of complex tones that join forces and burst into an extensive fusion of superb interplay by the group that is no doubt a satisfying experience to witness.
“Ivory” as I imagined this piece encompasses Rudy’s gorgeous timbre on tenor horn while attached to the voicing of Hoefner on piano plays soulfully with an angular approach that’s wistful and dexterous skills allows him to effectively correspond in conversation with the group as a unit their sound flourishes with an inviting pulse elevates this thought-provoking piece.
“Ankunft and Behind the Sun” sum-ups this transcendent musical template very well, both tracks have differing yet similar traits melodically. Although skillfully pursued by Hoefner and his cohorts they go beyond the realm of ordinary and created a composite of inviting shapes and molten patterns that are well within the scope of novices.
One thing I adore about European jazz artists, particularly pianist Florian Hoefner. He amazingly uses his natural gift and vision to integrate the complexities of jazz and classical and unite them into a listenable context and unmask their integral voicings without losing integrity in this inescapable collection. Artistically, “Songs Without Words” sonically replicates both origins impeccably to solidify the importance of original jazz compositions through the imagination of an emerging new voice pianist and composer Florian Hoefner.