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

Florian Hoefner: Coldwater Stories (Origin)

Review of solo piano album by Florian Hoefner

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Cover of Florian Hoefner album Coldwater Stories
Cover of Florian Hoefner album Coldwater Stories

This solo-piano recital illuminates the intersections where composition and improvisation, man and nature, and action and reflection meet. All of the music appreciates the moment yet exists in a state of becoming.

While Florian Hoefner utilizes these modest pieces as vehicles to explore the nexus between the preconceived and the purely extemporized, he doesn’t deliver them with cagey intent. Instead, he simply lets everything flow, painting attractive pictures that consist of “composed islands” surrounded by uncharted waters. Where the shores of certainty and the seas of discovery exactly meet is often a mystery, but it’s one that needs no solving.

Tales of birds, bergs and beauty emerge as Hoefner reflects deeply on the natural wonders endemic to Newfoundland, his adopted home. “The Great Auk” is a wide-eyed and wistful portrait of an extinct seabird; “Migration” takes a semi-impressionistic look at the itinerant life of the puffin; two freely improvised “Iceberg” vignettes travel from north to south over the keys; and “Green Gardens” presents a 12/8 dance inspired by a trail in Gros Morne National Park.

Elsewhere, lessons in musical style and structure lead to substance. The chorale-based “Never Lost” is born of an exercise that piano great Fred Hersch once shared with Hoefner; “The Send” serves as a pianistic representation of a jazz quartet at play; and “The Way of Water” takes hypnotic design cues from composer Nico Muhly’s “Music Under Pressure 1.” Form is pure putty in Hoefner’s hands during the telling of these tales.

Preview, buy or download songs from the album Coldwater Stories by Florian Hoefner on iTunes.

Read Michael J. West’s review of Luminosity by the Florian Hoefner Group from the July/August 2016 issue of JazzTimes.

Originally Published