Label: Grassmannmusic ©
Midnight Apple #1, ZigZag #2, On The Treadmill #3, Sphere #4, The Beat Zapps #5, Mystic #6
Additional Personnel / Information
Clemens Grassmann - Drums, Composition; David Milazzo - alto sax; Alex Madeline - tenor sax; Jernej Bervar - guitar, Yoav Eshed - guitar; Nick Dunston - bass
“Midnight Apple combines astonishing instrumental mastery with stellar arrangements.” – JazzCorner “An excellent jazz excursion” – Contemporary Fusion Reviews Artist-composer Clemens Grassmann draws inspiration from separate but connected sources of influence – past and present. His sophomore release Midnight Apple examines the broad bothness of his expression, identifying and exploring different dualities within his artistry that include harmonic tension and release, inhale and exhale of the triplet and, of course, the lineage and forward motion of the music. “The whole record mixes tradition with modern influences,” says Clemens, whose compositions create vessels for dual experimentation on Midnight Apple. Clemens brings together an ensemble of artists who are expert at interpreting his musical narrative: Jernej Bervar and Yoav Eshed on guitars, David Milazzo on alto, Alex Madeline on tenor and Van Lier Fellow Nick Dunston on bass. Dualism – and the idea of complementary soundscaping – emerges as a theme throughout the recording. Clemens’ compositions spotlight interplay among two saxophones, two guitars, bass and drums; when one voice expresses swells, ruminating on long tones and pads, the other responds actively, engaging rhythmic figures; a 2019 homage to the call-and-response tradition remains pervasive from one section to the next. “My goal was to create a new sonic experience with the instrumentation,” says Clemens,” honoring the traditions of the past while making the recording sound different from anything we’ve heard.” Those connections reveal themselves differently from track to track. For the album’s title track, Clemens pulls close to literal inspiration from Ahmad Jamal’s “Poinciana,” then incorporating searing, distorted guitar lines as opportunities for experimenting with contemporary language and effects. Conversely, he sets up an exuberant pulse for “On the Treadmill,” a tune he first conceived as a melody while he was in the middle of a workout. The melody emerged with an urgency, reflected in the composition’s tempo, and happened to fit perfectly over a rhythm progression. Evocative of a treadmill, rhythm changes’ “circular repetition” affords the ensemble an opportunity to flex their narrative development – and individualism as soloists – over a classic form. Clemens features harmonic and textural dualism on “Sphere,” composing sections of counterpoint for the saxophones against ethereal guitar effects. Moved by the historical legacy of a single rocket departing from Earth’s atmosphere and entering outer space, he wrote a series of deceptively similar melodies, each with its own resolution. To capture the journey of a renegade rocket hit by a neutron star, Clemens transitions into a 9/8 section slipping in and out of pentatonic harmony – a musical comment on his own connection to the music’s broad lineage. “The rocket gets hit by different neutrinos – different influences – as it leaves Earth,” he says, “but yet, it still keeps the course.” Midnight Apple resolves on “Mystic,” a composition for which Clemens had no actual resolution until recently. “I had the first section of this song for a while,” he says, “but I didn’t know how to finish it.” His decision to begin with an extended solo bass section and incorporate African- inspired feels reflects a deliberate choice to bring the entire recording back to the roots of the music and the lineage – leaving room to expand in different directions. Enduring relationships – musical and philosophical – help Clemens weave an intimate and expressive narrative through Midnight Apple. For more information and to hear a preview of each track, visit www.clemensgrassmann.com.
Album uploaded by Clemens Grassmann