Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Philipp Gropper’s Philm - Live At Bimhuis (WHY PLAY JAZZ 2018)

"Live At Bimhuis" is Philipp Gropper and Philm’s astounding interim statement on the way to new musical heights, a statement of unexpected density, exceptional use of dynamics, sustained emphasis on and sensibility to the details. Done with directness, purity and presence.

Philipp Gropper’s Philm is underway, propelling itself to ever new heights. This forceful quartet takes off with a bursting energy that surges forth throughout their live performances. And so it was during Philm’s tour following the release of their “Sun Ship” album; they amazed festival audiences in Moers, Dobbia, and Ljubiana. They played to standing ovations at Amsterdam’s iconic Bimhuis jazz club. And the journey continues.

Before the band heads into the studio in April 2018 to record a completely new program, the uncut live recording of that Amsterdam concert will be released as the link between “Sun Ship” and the upcoming recording. “Live At Bimhuis” documents the band’s masterful use of dynamics and their emphasis on directness, purity, and presence. There is an improvised balance, a sensitive awareness of the details, as they thrust their way forward. This extraordinary band also takes up and reassembles material from their previous albums "Licht" and "The Madman of Naranam", ingeniously shinning new light on the pieces.

Philm forges music that bursts forth with unexpected intensity and consequence. Through the band’s insistently sharp, cutting agitation, the music comes more and more into focus. It reaches into the essence, the core, through a process that, with passionate urgency, opens up that core for all to hear. With Philm’s understanding that something only becomes exciting when it is no longer arbitrary, it shifts the boundaries of how we listen.

The tenor saxophonist is underway with Elias Stemeseder on piano and synthesizer, drummer Oliver Steidle and bassist Robert Landfermann. Philipp Gropper’s compositions are not written for some anonymous sideman, rather, they center around each player’s character. Urgent, threatening and dense, the music extends beyond a mere sum of its parts; it exhibits a collective compactness roaming over ever-new terrain on which abstraction and earthy sensuality are no longer opposites. The music is layered in such a manner that new space may be found and occupied.

Philm speaks with an urgency that springs from an inner desire to say what needs to be said. The band does that self-reliantly, without compromise. The group speaks directly to our time, something that the listener intuitively senses. A stellar moment for German jazz, to say the least.

Concerts 2018

Jun 02, 2018 - Bergen, NO @ Nattjazz Festival
Aug 03, 2018 - Berlin, DE @ A'Larme Festival

Sun Ship (Part 1)  9:45
Sun Ship (Part 2)  10:49
Ze  10:56
Who Owns The World? (Part 1)  5:11
Who Owns The World? (Part 2)  6:06
J (Part 3)  5:13
Licht  7:10

Recorded July 30th, 2017 by Marc Schots at BIMHUIS, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Mixed and Mastered by Martin Ruch at Control Room Berlin (Germany)
Design and artwork by Travassos