- Hound's Tune - Rufus Guinchard
- Calvary - Byron Isaacs
- First Spring - Florian Hoefner
- The Maid On The Shore - (traditional)
- Winter in June - Florian Hoefner
- Loosin' Yelav - (traditional)
- Short Life - Sam Amidon
- Solstice - Florian Hoefner
- Rain and Snow - (traditional)
also feat. Andrew Downing, Nick Fraser
Label: Alma Records
Catalogue no.: ACD8309
About the album
First Spring […] stands out in the piano trio field in 2019.
All About Jazz
You are never really allowed to leave the music of Florian Hoefner once you have listened to it. The pianist has a knack of taking possession of your sensibilities, making the notes of melodies leap off the page and into you.
The music of First Spring is no different. Setting out to capture the splendor of music swirling around in his mind, the pianist has succeeded in relocating the ethos of traditional songs and the high and lonesome sound off bluegrass to the landscape of jazz. In the collision of these musical realms, something truly remarkable and miraculous emerges that gives new meaning to the definition of “beauty” and becomes central to Hoefner’s aesthetic credo. He demonstrates that the heart of tradition lies in innovation. If Hoefner remains in the tradition, he also soars – and in doing so – also sets the music on this 2019 album exuberantly free.
All About Jazz, Dan McClenaghan
Many piano trios reach back to past masters for inspiration, playing in the style of Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson. Others craft their sounds under the influence of contemporary players: Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Ahmad Jamal. On the other hand, the occasional piano trio comes down the road rolling its own idiosyncratic way. Pianist Florian Hoefner is one of the latter group, with his immersion in “the ethos of traditional songs and the high lonesome sound of Bluegrass,” on his first trio outing, First Spring. […]
First Spring, a jazz-infused folk/country piano trio outing, stands out in the piano trio field in 2019.
I’ve been following Florian Hoefner’s career for some time now, and his latest album took me a bit by surprise. This time out he’s leading a piano trio rather than his usual quartet, and while you might expect that to mean a more traditional sound, you’d be mistaken. Yes, the group swings hard when it wants to, but they’re just as likely to play in a more impressionistic, less rhythmically-driven style–and while there are three Hoefner compositions on the program, the focus is on other people’s tunes, and on settings of folk songs: “Maid on the Shore,” “Rain and Snow,” and the Armenian folk song “Loosin Yelav” (based on a setting by Luciano Berio). There’s a bit more arco bass than you’d normally expect on a jazz recording, often employed to approximate the sound of a fiddle, and generally speaking this is a remarkably and fresh and original-sounding album. Highly recommended.
Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen
Having heard Hoefner now on record and in person performing solo and with a quartet, a quintet and now a trio, I’m stumped as to which context I prefer him in. In every situation, the music is so substantial and at times even breath-taking. I do know that I’ll be coming back to First Spring for more enjoyable listens, to appreciate its forthright beauty and this new expansiveness of Hoefner’s musical world.
With the jazz piano tradition so established and with such a long history behind it, it can’t be easy for artists to devise new takes on the form. With First Spring, Florian Hoefner does so, however, and in a most imaginative way.
Geno Thackara, All About Jazz
The cheerful interplay and improvisation would belong in any jazz club out there, while the song selections and emotional tones are rooted in the worlds of folk and bluegrass. Florian Hoefner and friends strike gold with their appealing blend of smart and sweet.
J.D. Considine, Jazztimes
Through it all, Hoefner treats these tunes with respect and affection, using his arrangements to emphasize the melodic allure of the originals. But it would be hard to imagine this album having worked as well without Downing and Fraser. Downing’s big sound and expressive arco work add enormously to the album’s melodic charm, and his solo on the title tune testifies to his originality as an improviser. Fraser, who underplays better than anybody since Paul Motian, is just as impressive, adding to the momentum without drawing attention to himself. All told, First Spring makes it hard not to look forward to the following summer.
Mel Minter, Musically Speaking
Hoefner manages to maintain the unguarded simplicity of the source material while layering in a variety of jazz stylings that expand on the tunes, balancing the fateful certainty of the folk tunes against the fluid uncertainties of the jazz idiom.