Wolfert Brederode Quartet
Wolfert Brederode piano
Claudio Puntin clarinets
Mats Eilertsen double-bass
Samuel Rohrer drums
Recorded May 2010, Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines
Engineers: Gérard de Haro and Nicolas Baillard
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Four years after their ECM debut, Wolfert Brederode and his quartet go Post Scriptum. The bandleader takes most of the composing credit with seven tunes to his name, the first four of which start with something of a 20-minute suite. “Meander” puts us on the right path at the encouragement of the pianist’s foundations. In this track especially, he evokes the same richness of progression and insight as Tori Amos at the keyboard. Bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Samuel Rohrer flesh out this unfurling skeleton as clarinetist Claudio Puntin jumps from branch to branch, snagging not a single feather along the way. Like so much of what follows (an exception being the piano-drums duet “Sofja”), emphasis is on the quartet sound, a multifaceted wonder that fronts each player in equal turn. Whether highlighting arid hand percussion and arco bassing in “Angelico” or crosstalk of piano and cymbals in “November,” the unity is uplifting and consuming. Through it all, Brederode’s comping weaves a caravan out of thin air, transporting Puntin’s precious melodic cargo. The title track is as surreal as it is brief, a haze of rhythm and reason that moves like a lotus along a river. Among the remaining Brederode originals, the groovy “Inner Dance” is a highlight. Anchored by pliant bass lines and soft touches from inside the piano, and with a clarinet that shines like a desert moon, it beats like the heart of a gentle giant. “Silver Cloud,” too, emotes tenderly, patterning the air in the manner of a Japanese woodblock print.
Eilertsen’s contributions, though more abstract, are no less engaging. The rattling interiors of “Aceh” yield dampened bass notes from Brederode, which resound with distant explosions of poetry. The babbling brook of “Brun” lends an air of spring to the canvas, while “Wall View” juxtaposes the rhythm section’s pointillism with Puntin’s legato phrasings. He and Roher offer a tune apiece, one a river of melodic beauty and the other a twisted network of roots and soil.
The landscapes of the Brederode Quartet are unfamiliar and unpopulated. This dynamic actualizes their movements by the grace not of cartographers but of artists who paint for the future, confident that eyes may hear the music of every brushstroke as a memory of a shared antiquity.
Easily another of ECM’s Top 10 of this century.
(To hear samples of Post Scriptum, click here.)