Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Søren Kjærgaard: Optics

There is a somnambulant quality to Optics, a kind of waking-life feeling. Søren Kjærgaard, a 29-year-old Danish pianist, recruited bassist Ben Street and the phenomenal drummer Andrew Cyrille for this trio, and, boy, do they listen to one another.

Cyrille, known for his work with the likes of Cecil Taylor and Oliver Lake, is the senior member, and much of what happens revolves around him. The 14-minute title track that opens the CD demands patience from its musicians. Kjærgaard plots out deep, serious chords, employing dramatic pauses as the rumble of mallets on skins establishes the tone. Street picks deliberately on the upper neck of his bass as Kjærgaard then lays down an ascending series of minor chords. A quiet snare roll, a repeated three-key phrase played lightly-this is minimalist bliss. On “Cyrille Surreal,” icy, detached chords play against a reluctant swing rhythm, but things evolve, as they always do, and rowdiness finally replaces inertia.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published