For his fourth recording overall and first solo outing, the German-born pianist sets a reflective tone with generous use of space, glistening ostinatos and a tender touch. Inspired by the maritime landscape of his new home base of Newfoundland, the large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland where he moved three years ago from New York City, Coldwater Stories
is, ironically, more luminous than Hoefner's previous Origin release, Luminosity
, a muscular quartet outing featuring tenor saxophone burner Seamus Blake.
Opening on a contemplative note with the sparsely appointed, slightly melancholic "The Great Auk," Hoefner continues the calming vibe with "Migration" and sublime pieces like "Sunrise Bay" and "The Way Of Water." The buoyant "Green Gardens" carries an uplifting lilt while the more somber "Never Lost" has the feel of one of Keith Jarrett's ruminative sections from the Köln Concert
. In fact, like much of Jarrett's playing from that landmark album, it's hard to tell where composition ends and improvisation begins on Coldwater Stories
. Recorded at the acoustically brilliant Sendesaal concert hall in Bremen, Germany, this one is especially good for soothing frayed nerves or casting a wistful spell.