It has been a long while since we have heard anything by UK pianist Julie Sassoon who now lives in Germany (her UK-based singer-pianist brother Jeremy Sassoon is very active on the home scene still) so this is welcome. Sassoon has also released a solo piano record this year. Sometimes here you close your eyes and you are in a classical mood, otherwise it's avant-garde adventure all part of the arc of what is a carefully paced album.
The six tracks are no trifles and you get a weight to the pieces that says much for Sassoon's compositional skill, pianism and rapport with reedist Lothar Ohlmeier, bassist Meinrad Kneer and drummer Rudi Fischerlehner. Ohlmeier is a very robust player and on 'Jerusalem' ideas burst out as the piece becomes tense and ultimately tender.
Sassoon is best when she is at her most expansive as waves of energy heap up to roll in from nowhere on 'Outside' or navigate to another place entirely in the push-and-pull abundance of 'Missed Calls'. The quietly complex tone gradations and moods of 'Shifting' contribute to some of the finest aspects of what is a very satisying album. Photo: Tom Schweers