Swansong – Do Swans Fly?
(Hunnia Records. Album review by Fiona Mactaggart)
Swansong is an international jazz trio, formed in Berlin in 2010 by Hungarian pianist Gábor Csordás and Berklee-educated, Japanese electric bassist Noriaki (Nori) Hosoya. In 2016, Washington DC-based drummer Marty Risemberg took over from original drummer Andrea Zuliani. As well as their origins being the world over, they also bring a wide musical background, discernible in this album; for example classical, pop and hiphop all seem evident in Csordás’ sound.
A 2019 debut album, Swansong, was especially successful in Japan where the trio subsequently toured, although the pandemic put follow-up plans on hold until last spring when, in Budapest, the trio recorded this, their second studio album, Do Swans Fly? (Only a few days before, they had also recorded their first live album, Turbulence.)
Do Swans Fly? is a fresh, even youthful-feeling jazz album of eleven originals. The mix of electric bass guitar with acoustic piano lends a mild fusion feel to the mostly mainstream European jazz sound. Led by Csordás, he takes composer credits for five of the eleven tunes, Hosoya the remaining six.
Csordás states that the trio’s style is “centered around melodic ideas coming from European music,” which is most overtly shown in his soaring title track, reportedly strongly influenced by the early music of Hungarian keyboard player Zsolt Kaltenecker.
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Another highlight of this 74-minute-long album is Hosoya’s Far From Winter which features the extraordinarily lovely tones of guest Bence Táborszky’s flugelhorn.
Indeed, gentleness and lyricism are two words (listen to Hosoya’s delightful Komorebi) that come to mind when listening to this charming album, as well as a sense of the composers taking pleasure in sharing their favourite musical styles and heroes; Rush Hour, Csordás’ take on Herbie Hancock’s Actual Proof, is a felicitous example of this.
With their disparate origins and influences, these friends together seem to be starting to find their own particular, rather attractive jazz style. It will be interesting to hear how they evolve.
Fiona Mactaggart lives in Edinburgh and writes about music on Scottish Jazz Space
Categories: Album reviews