… a composer-bandleader of insightful resolve”
New York Times
Born and raised in Germany, trained in New York City and now based in Canada, Juno-nominated jazz pianist and composer, Florian Hoefner, draws from a myriad of influences that cumulate in his unique brand of modern jazz. Praised as a “composer-bandleader of insightful resolve” by the New York Times and a “harmonically daring pianist […] reaching toward new sonic territory” by Downbeat Magazine, Florian has made his mark as an inventive creator and performer of exciting contemporary Jazz.
Florian now presents his new Canadian trio with Andrew Downing on bass and Nick Fraser on drums. The group is performing a completely new repertoire of his originals and arrangements of folk songs from different parts of the world. Their debut album, “First Spring” was released in September 2019 on Alma Records/Universal. It was nominated for a 2021 Juno as Jazz Album of the Year: Group, and won “Instrumental Recording of the Year” and “Jazz Recording of the Year” at the 2020 East Coast Music Awards in Atlantic Canada.
About the Music
The music and style of “First Spring” is a marked departure from earlier releases.
“I wanted to create something different from the music on my quartet albums. As much as I love the sound of the quartet and hope to return to that medium soon, I was looking for something fresh and a new challenge. In recent years, I have been listening more and more to records by folk and country artists like Sam Amidon, Levon Helm and Chris Thile. I explored what made this music so compelling and how I could transfer it to the setting of a jazz piano trio without losing its original vibe.
A common denominator in a lot of this music is the sound of the fiddle. It occurred to me that with the double bass I have a string instrument in the trio that I can use for exactly this purpose. So I started arranging some of my favourite songs for piano, bass and drums, often using the bowed bass as an additional melody instrument.” – Florian Hoefner
The often swinging and sometimes sedate pulsating heartbeat for this music is provided here by drummer Nick Fraser while Andrew Downing brings his contrabass – frequently wielding his magical bow as he plays con arco – to augment the rhythmic realm and join Hoefner in exploring the melodic content of the music as a kind of second lead-voice.
In every situation, the music is so substantial and at times even
… a remarkably fresh and original-sounding album. Highly recommended.”
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.
During the pandemic, Florian has composed new music for an entire new trio album – to be recorded with Andrew and Nick, as soon as musicians can get together again. A taste of this new material was released as part of a digital project called “3 Trios Across the Globe”, featuring three different trios with some of Florian’s longstanding musical partners from around the world.
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