In Geometry

Double Moon Records © 2020 Luxembourg


text: Robin Boer


After discovering the Luxembourgish/British composer/musician Claire Parsons at the Luxembourg Jazz Meeting (*) in 2018, and watching her performances during the Amersfoort Jazz Festival in 2019, we were more than impressed enough to look out for her first 'proper' album. Her well-received EP <<OnOff>>, which she recorded with guitar player Eran Har Even gave a good taste of what to come, and it seems that 'In Geometry' is delivering.

Parsons recorded this work with guitarist Eran Har Even (ISR/NLD), drummer/pianist Jérôme Klein (FRA/LUX), bass player Pol Belardi (LUX) and drummer Niels Engel (LUX).

The album starts off with the ghostly introduction 'Vertex' which brings ambient sounds and beautiful usage of a vocal harmonizer. In 'Line. Dot. Curve' we hear the wonderful solo voice of Claire, which is recorded very clear, and nice upfront in the mix, how we like it. She is very creative with her voice arrangements. The choruses have a mysterious feel and are harmonically very well composed and we hear polyrhythmics in both 5/4 and 7/8, serving the song very well. The band as a whole delivers too, playing skillfull, tasteful and dynamic.

'Pyramid' is a haunting 3/4 interlude with choral vocals, piano, acoustic guitar and soundscapes, followed by a real treasure called 'No Shape' where we hear Claire singing flawlessly over a modulating range of beautiful piano chords. The instruments certainly do match well. The bridge of the song switches to a 9/8 where the vocals are more in the background, though very powerful, with a big wall of sound, produced by the band. 'Enneagon' is an instrumental track, led by the piano and guitar. Again, beautiful melodies and an ongoing dynamic variety. Eran Har Even's solo provides every note the piece needs and is free from any possible cliché.

Already arrived at the second half of the album, again we are treated with a piece where not only melody, but also rhythms are shifting and blending. The verses are strong and have a big character of urgency, creating some interesting tension that seems to build up, but doesn't quite release in the choruses. But as they say: "the best is yet to come”, which we find out soon enough when hearing the first seconds of 'Nebula', the most jazz-like piece on the album. A song in 11/8 verse and a 6/4 chorus with a more uplifting character, not to mention another very good guitar solo. No surprise though, since Evan Har Even already impressed us with his great abilities on several occasions. The rif-based end section give a nice progrock feel, however we do think the way the chords dissolve at the end are taking away the tension a bit.

The piece 'Sphere' is absolutely wonderful, and of a typical 'European' charming character we might say. Again, very melancholic harmonies in piano and voices, and great guitar work. In our opinion, though, Claire truly saved the best for last, because 'Ursa Major' really, really caresses our souls. The harmonic choices made throughout this whole song are so perfectly on point, it's a true love at first listen. The album closes with similar voice harmonization as which opened it, apart from 'Ursa Major' but now mentioned as such.

What more can we say about this unbelievable record? Nowadays it seems to become more of a rarity to be treated with rich, honest melodies and harmonies, which, in our opinion, are essential ingredients that define good music. Apart from the fact that the detailed production and mix are spot on, as is the playing by all band members, in the end, it is composition that weighs heaviest. Though a traditional band setup, with drums, bass, guitar, piano and voice, the music itself is far from that. We think that Claire Parsons is one of the 'best bits' in the current musical landscape. A young and  talented composer and musician, who actually delivers unique, mature, crafted and emotional compositions, well performed by a skilled company of musicians.

'In Geometry' sets the bar high! As mentioned before: a love at first listen.

The album is launched in 2020 by the label 'Double Moon Records' together with the popular German jazz magazine 'Jazz thing' in the Next Generation Vol. 83 series.


(*) Read the ProgJazz articles about Claire Parsons and the Luxembourg Jazz Meeting 2018