Thursday, May 10, 2018

Bruno Heinen - Mr Vertigo (BABEL 2018)

Mr Vertigo is a bold, diverse exploration of solo piano counterpoint by Bruno Heinen, and his sixth album on the progressive Babel Label.

Heinen has established pedigree in both classical and jazz worlds, in his various collaborations with jazz players in London and Italy, and his recent role in the piano chair in Bernstein's Wonderful Town with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle at the Barbican.

On Mr Vertigo Heinen approaches the instrument from a new standpoint, without a prescribed attitude to improvisation or preoccupation with genre distinctions in his compositions or selections. Instead he focuses in on the contrapuntal identity of each piece – using each one to explore a particular aspect of the rich relationships between parts in solo performance. The result is a record that resists traditional categorisation.

Photo by Carlotta Cardana

“Erudition, eclectic studies and a jazz sensibility make Heinen the kind of newcomer who repositions the goalposts ” The Guardian Part of Mr Vertigo’s project is technical and investigative, a kind of research: Mirage explores space and atonality using subtle overdubs and post-production techniques; Virgo is a ‘duet’ with an original Stockhausen music box; Forgotten Images weaves a rare Debussy theme into an original Heinen composition; Daydreamer draws on Wayne Shorter’s Night Dreamer to investigate the relationship between two time signatures.

Each piece of music also has a very human point of origin, a story being expressed by each contrapuntal approach. The title track, based on a Paul Auster novel, describes the traumatic experience of a boy learning to fly. ‘Hommage à Kurtág’, played with only the two index fingers, is based on the instinctive moves of children arriving at a piano to play for the first time. In Kochi Heinen draws on a Vagadhibhusani South Indian Carnatic scale he learned while travelling through India.

The pianist’s ability with counterpoint has always been evident: in his approach to solo building, his Tierkries Sextet writing, and in his current studies with renowned pianist Fred Hersch. Mr Vertigo shows him engaging with the full range of its possibilities.

1. Forgotten Images 04:13
2. Hommage à Kurtàg 05:02
3. Daydreamer 03:48
4. Virgo 08:43
5. The Peacocks 04:10
6. Mirage 04:26
7. International Blues 04:30
8. Mr. Vertigo 07:47
9. In Kochi 03:39
10. Fire and Rain 10:02