Singer Susanne Abbuehl has a unique approach to setting verse, getting inside the texts, exploring their inner melodies and rhythms, setting them free to float and sway. The approach is beautifully realized on “The Gift”, recorded in the South of France in the summer of 2012. Poetry embraced on this occasion includes words by Emily Dickinson, Emily Bronté, Sara Teasdale, Wallace Stevens, and Susanne’s own lyrics. In the seven years that have elapsed since the release of “Compass”, Abbuehl’s band has been reorganized. Wolfert Brederode remains an important, central presence. New to the ensemble are Matthieu Michel, a highly intuitive musical partner since 2009, whose flugelhorn is a wonderful second voice here, and Olavi Louhivouri, whose sensitive drumming was previously heard on Tomasz Stanko’s “Dark Eyes”.
Susanne Abbuehl startled listeners in 2001 with her debut release, April, in which she took on the poems of e.e. cummings, and created lyrics for a Carla Bley composition. A studied and original vocalist – she worked with Jeanne Lee – she is also a solid composer. Her aesthetic and restrained approach lend themselves easily to Manfred Eicher's production M.O. On Compass, Abbuehl and her band, which features the wonderful clarinetist Christoph May, dig deep into the words of James Joyce, William Carlos Williams, and the music of Sun Ra and Chick Corea. The project is once more refined and mannered yet utterly ambitious beginning with her original composition "Bathyal."
The gentle pulsations of the piano of Wolfert Brederode have played a significant role on “April” and “Compass”, ECM recordings of singer Susanne Abbuehl. Now the Dutch pianist (born 1974, in Wassenaar near Den Haag) steps forward to lead a group of gifted players – clarinettist Claudio Puntin and drummer Samuel Rohrer from Switzerland, and Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen – all of whom commit their improvisational energies to the lyric flow of his music, its chamber music sensibility, and the slow-drifting currents of its river of sound. “Currents”, recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio, is Brederode’s ECM leader debut.