Lorenzo Feliciati, Richard Hallebeek, Niels Voskuil
TRACK-BY-TRACK REVIEW by Robin Boer
Over the last two years, this trio has been working on the CD 'Bumerang' and is the result of a meeting between two musicians: guitarist Richard Hallebeek (RHP, Lalle Larsson, Dweezil Zappa, Shawn Lane, Jeroen van Helsdingen Band) and bassist Lorenzo Feliciati (Bob Mintzer, Pat Mastelotto, Cuong Vu, Chad Wackerman, Steve Jansen, Nils Petter Movaer and many, many more) at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2017. The two decided to collaborate and drummer Niels Voskuil, who already joined forces with Hallebeek on the Cd's 'Live in Alphen' and 'One Voice', joined soon after.
After a good response to two recorded single tracks, the decision was made to go for a full-length album. The trio chose not to work on the music at home, separated from each other, but together in the studio (three different ones actually) in order to create an organic band vibe to breathe through the recording.
Friday At Last
The dark-ish theme is built on heavy guitar chords and we sense some 'industrial' mood. From the start it's clear we have a killer bass player in this trio. His playing is very groovy and the signature soloing by Hallebeek takes off quickly. Underneath we hear nice chord progressions and because of a lot of guitar synth overdubs, we do not miss a keyboard player at all. The second part of the song starts off with a clean guitar melody, followed by a well constructed drum solo, with the main theme underneath it. Very well mixed. A third guitar solo, in another different mood and a different voice, closes off the song. So much versatility to offer in the first five-and-a-half minutes already, and seven tracks more to come.
This one is more up-tempo and the main melody lies in the low parts here, played unison by both bass and distorted guitar. The melodic intervals are interesting. It's nice to hear both the guitar and the bass share a very equal role here, solistically. Both solos are jaw-dropping. The drumming by Niels Voskuil is giving a lot of extra meaning to the composition, with well-timed breaks and accents. The middle part in 7/8 is high-class prog rock and another unison bass + guitar melody dissolves surprisingly into major. We are brought into a more ambient-like section now, with ghostly sound scapes and suggestive drumming, only to return to the main part that also started off the song and a gentle guitar solo. Another adventure in itself!
We mentioned an 'industrial' mood in the first track. The same type of mood returns in the title track, which fits perfectly with the dark, urban-style artwork by Greg Lynn. Again, this piece is full of surprising, interlocking melody lines and impressive layers of guitars. The solo is perfectly connected to the chord sequence and though it has a different mood as the main section of the piece, it has been put together impeccably so it al works really well.
The title says it all. A super atmospheric three-minute piece where we are treated with a beatiful landscape of guitar synth soundscapes accompanied by bass and light drumming. A harmonic orgasm.
Back to a bit more heavy territory with dazzling guitar drills and more straight forward bass and drum patterns, though there are treacherous details in the measurements. No Hallebeek solo is the same, and this little story is no exception. That said, to hear more drum soloing, so tastefully embedded in the composition, is very commendable. No wonder most of this piece is created by Niels Voskuil.
We try to avoid comparisons as much as possible, but this haunting ballad really breaths the jazz rock spirit from long bygone days, and we mean that in the most positive way. This is because of the main melody, performed by Feliciati, with very nice chords that support it. It's unnecessary to mention who's spirits are reaching out through this beautiful piece. The connoisseurs know.
Law Of Force
Just like 'Before Dawn' this is another atmospheric effort where Voskuil is drawing a graceful and stable canvas in which Hallebeek and Feliciati are painting a forceful appearance. Simply spiffing news.
The final treat on this album, mostly taken care of by Voskuil, takes off with a strong through-composed theme and arrangement, with a very orchestral character. A big, colorful blend of different sounds and beautiful chords, and Hallebeek definitely saved his most extrovert solo of the album for this one, and the haunting, introvert closing section brings the piece, and therefore, the album, to a closing.
With this new trio, we hear mostly a compositional development in Hallebeek's already impressive and extensive oeuvre. The superb composed and constructed pieces flow very naturally and the fact that the trio recorded actually together in the studio, instead of separated at different locations, contributes to that, for sure. A more than worthy release that keeps on setting the bar high in progressive jazz music, in which technical skill and attractive composition are blending perfectly.