Nadje Noordhuis: Nadje Noordhuis

With a few exceptions, trumpeter/flugelhornist Nadje Noordhuis’ debut recording is all soft-colored, European-inspired melodies and gentle rhythms. It’s an extremely muted album, in other words, but that fact doesn’t diminish its power. Noordhuis has a sweet, expressive sound, particularly on the flugelhorn (on which she compares to Chuck Mangione in the most positive possible sense), that imbues “Water Crossing” and “Waltz for Winter” with palpable feelings of longing and nostalgia. On both of these-as with most of the record-she is assisted in those evocations by the tender piano of Geoffrey Keezer and the weeping violin of Sara Caswell, while bassist Joe Martin and (especially) drummer Obed Calvaire provide tasteful, spare accompaniment. The album’s two lively pieces, the folksy “Mayfair” and stomping “Le Fin” (both trumpet showpieces), are a shade more strident; even here, though, tenderness and melody reign supreme. While it never swings, it’s a beautiful recording throughout.

Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.