La Brava Music

Tim Bruer Quartet

Like John – This song was inspired by the modal tunes in 3/4 that John Coltrane played in his classic quartet.

Euroscape – I wanted to write a slow piece in a “minor mood”. When I came up with the first part, I got an image of being on the road in Europe.

Black and Gold – An African influenced piece. The title is intended to reflect the African heritage in jazz, and how valuable it’s been to the music.

In The Mode – I wanted to write something in D minor with a swing feel, and incorporate a latin feel in the bridge. The title, like some of the others, has two sides to it (I’ll let the reader work that out).

The Gift – Was inspired by the kinds of slow, expressive latin pieces that Keith Jarrett plays. The title refers to the fact that the first part came out in one go and was like a gift.

Plastic Elastic – A funk tune of Paul Grabowsky’s influenced me here. I wanted something that was based on an a simple earthy groove, but that also had some harmonic sophistication.

Song For Janne – After promising my wife Janne for 23 years that I’d write a song for her, I finally got around to it. It was written a number of years after “The Gift”, but feels like a companion piece to it.

Another Wrinkle – After hearing Larry Goldings play a groove based arrangement of a Stevie Wonder song I was inspired to write something similar, but I wanted to make it a little quirky. The title reflects this as well as the effect of aging which is all too apparent when we look in the mirror sometimes!

Tim’s Blues – A Blues in a contemporary style. I wanted the melody section in this piece to have a bit more than just the classic 12 bar form, so I added a bridge.

Slinky – This tune was inspired by a John Scofield song. Though essentially a funk piece, in the solo sections it also incorporates latin and swing feels.

Reviews

Sydney Morning Herald 18th August 2007

Unlike some, Tim Bruer is happy to acknowledge his influences. The Sydney pianist cheerfully dips his lid as a composer to John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Paul Grabowsky and John Scofield in the course of this album. If that perhaps leaves the real Tim Bruer still to stand up, it does make for varied listening, the coherency supplied by the quartet’s cohesion.

As with all jazz worth the name it is the improvising that ultimately defines the quality. Bruer’s thoughtful and rhythmically charged piano playing is joined by the tight sound and relaxed phrasing of Sean Coffin’s tenor saxophone and one of the most flexible rhythm sections in the land: bassist Brett Hirst and drummer Simon Barker.

Amid the diversity, I especially like the pastel post-Jarrett Euroscape, which Coffin flecks with primary-colour highlights.....
John Shand

Limelight Magazine August 2007

While Tim Bruer’s debut as leader is diverse in its influences, it’s fundamental straight-ahead hard bop with lyrical, funky, swinging and melodic qualities featuring Sean Coffin on tenor, Brett Hirst bass and Simon Barker drums. Showcasing original compositions from the pianist, the opener Like John is more than a nod to John Coltrane’s version of My Favourite Things. Euroscape has a Nordic inference, while Plastic Elastic and Slinky have a deliciously understated backbeat that simmer along very nicely. While each voice is distinctive, this has the sound of a collective largely due to Bruer’s caressing rather than forceful touch.

Peter Wockner

Australian JazzScene August 2007

Talented pianist/composer Bruer acknowledges influences from Coltrane, Jarrett and Scofield on this multi-faceted recording. The quartet is entirely sympathetic to the contemporary style and the soloing is exciting at every turn. The tunes range from Euroscape, which is inspired by Bruer’s travels through that continent, though I detect a touch of Morocco at one point, then the distinctly African beat of Black and Gold, which has some moody tenor in front of an urgent rhythm. Sean Coffin brings in some Coltrane on In the Mode, and could it be elements of stride within the piano solo? Tim’s Blues is mainly 12-bar in a contemporary setting where a touch of vocalese might sit comfortably as a chase chorus with the sax. A “growl” from Coffin in the coda. Many moods on this CD, from latin through funk to sophisticated swing. Well worth a listen and the LaBrava label ensures its ready availability.

Ron Spain

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