Florian Hoefner is a German born pianist with an incredibly strong resume. He graduated from the Manhattan School Of Music with a Master's degree in music, is a teacher of his craft and is also a member of the band Subtone as well as leading his own quartet. Falling Up is the group's second album.
Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed this album. This talented band includes Mike Ruby (tenor and soprano saxophones), Sam Anning (bass) and Peter Kronreif (drums). Even though these musicians come from diverse backgrounds; Canada, Australia and Austria respectively, they play exceptionally well together. The album's first track "Stoney Lake" starts with rousing piano and rich tenor sax. The playing is warm and fluent making for a fine slice of modern jazz. In the melodic "The Long Run" the drummer showcases his talent not by how many notes he can play but by showcasing restraint, opting for a 'less is more' approach. The upbeat title track is a jazz lover's delight with Hoefner's piano setting a brisk pace while the remake of "Black is the Color", a classic American folk song, carries a melancholic tone. The playing is slower with tasteful bass, sax and piano solos. Throughout the album the solos are well placed, never feeling tacked on or overdone.
The most surprising tune is a jazzed up version of The Beatle's classic "Eleanor Rigby". The piano and drum work is riveting and when the sax led melody starts… well, I'll let you be the judge.
Another fantastic jazz album by a very talented group indeed. If you like piano led jazz this should be an automatic purchase.