The global pause caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has created ruptures in established patterns and collaborations. The pianist Anat Fort found herself separated from her usual trio, made up of bassist Gary Wang and of Roland Schneider, for the first time in twenty years of existence. When the opportunity arose to reunite the trio for a concert in Germany, Anat Fort seized the opportunity to record an album that shakes up the habits of the group with “
The Berlin Sessions”.
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Anat Fort, Gary Wang and Roland Schneider originally came together as a trio in 1999. Over the next two decades, they recorded acclaimed albums for ECM and Sunnyside Records. After their previous opus, “Colour” (Sunnyside, 2018), the group found themselves in a new period of activity and growth, abruptly interrupted and forcing the members of the trio to retire to their respective homes in Israel, to Los Angeles and Germany.
In spring 2022, Anat Fort and the trio were invited to perform at the BMW Welt Jazz Awards in Munich, Germany. The perfect opportunity for Anat Fort to book a studio in Berlin right away.
The trio took the train to Berlin without knowing what they were going to record. Anat Fort asked engineer Nanni Johansson to leave the microphones on to capture whatever the trio decided to play in EBS and Hansa studios. They began playing for hours, at first freely, then suggesting pieces from their vast repertoire and a few spontaneous covers, a practice the band had never used before.
At the start of this double album, the trio familiarized themselves again with collective improvisation. There was an instant reconnection when they started playing, their chemistry intact. The rest of the first disc includes new interpretations of pieces that Anat Fort had written for a handful of performances at the Rubin Museum in New York, under the name of The Jain Suite. Each piece is inspired by an oriental work of art on display at the museum. These are mostly brief sketches that were only performed at these concerts. The trio were excited to give them new life.
The second disc begins with one of Anat Fort’s oldest pieces for the trio, Breeze. It is a difficult and offbeat waltz with a majestic air. Another novelty is the recording of real blues. Anat Fort has decided to revisit its composition, Fire Drill Blues, a fun and upbeat track for the trio to stretch out to. During the tour that followed “Colour”, the trio had the idea of recording songs from the 1980s. Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel is thus on the menu. Suit All the Things You Area complete surprise for the band as Anat Fort sat down at the piano and the standard began to emerge.
Wish Cloud is a piece inspired by her cat, a frequent source of inspiration for the composer. This thoughtful, stripped-down piece was written before the trio toured with Gianluigi Trovesi seven years ago. The piece Open (for Take Toriyama) by the pianist was premiered at the Rubin Museum after the death of her friend and drummer Toriyama.
The jubilant air of Level 42 The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) was a silly song that the trio members had mutual affection for. Here, they indulge in a danceable and spirited interpretation of this piece. The trio then changes universes with the popular Jewish prayer of Nurit Hirsch, Oseh Shalom, opting for a meditative rendition rather than the more wild, natural feeling of prayer. The program ends with the solo piece by Anat Fort, Back to the Futurewhich serves as a business card for his album and a summary of elements of Mahavira’s Pregnancy and Death of “The Jain Suite” on the first disc.
(excerpt from the press release in English – translation E. Lacaze / A. Dutilh)
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