Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"The trio ensemble of reed instrument with a spare backing of just drums and bass was pioneered by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Ornette on alto sax, of course, with the occasional trumpet or violin, and Coltrane on tenor and soprano, Rollins on his always brawny tenor saxophone. It was groundbreaking stuff in the sixties. Without a chording instrument, melody moves into the forefront.
On New Brighton, Swiss multiple reedist Domenic Landolf plays tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and alto flute in an organic interplay with his trio mates, bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Dejan Terzic.
A fluid trio chemistry reveals itself with the opener, "Lehar." The leader blows haunting, unhurried lines on his round-toned tenor sax, bass and drums creating a low, ominous grumble, with Terzic adding a subtle tintinnabulation of glockenspiel. "Storm Chaser" is, as its title suggests, more turbulent, a brief, rumbling, improvisational interlude leading into "Les Bouts Du Monde, featuring the leader's smooth-as-honey bass clarinet weaving inside a subdued rhythmic clamor.
The set has a chamber jazz feeling in large part, catching fire on "Calling the Spirits," with Landolf's flute floating through the searching edginess of the bass/drums paring giving the mood a tincture of eeriness. "Cho Oyu," penned by bassist Moret, has Landolf back on tenor, sounding muscular and Sonny Rollins-esque, blowing an urgent smolder inside a transparent landscape, accompanied by drummer Terzic's metallic exclamations.
The just-under-a-minute free, three-way improvisation, "Enchanted Beans" introduces a brief moment of anguish on the screech of the leader's tenor, rolling into the spare and ruminative "Fjord," with Landolf back on bass clarinet, and Moret, who wrote the tune, sounding distinctly percussive.
The set as a whole has a suite-like quality of interconnectedness, the subdued beauty of the Landolf and Moret-penned tunes interspersed with the more urgent and shorter trio-penned improvisations. The group goes with a standard to close the set, the Great American Songbook classic, "My Old Flame." The pace is measured and introspective, and reverential, leaving the ring of a familiar melody lingering at the end of a fine set of sounds." -AllAboutJazz
"Thirteen musical episodes - simultaneously stressing individual paths, duo rapport and trio interplay - make up New Brighton. Multi-reedist Domenic Landolf shows that he knows how to go out on a limb, creating challenging music, but he always balances the adventurous with the accessible. Stability - whether dealing with rhythm or melody - is the key factor here. One musician will often provide a stabilizing element that tethers the rest of the musicians to one another. These ideas don't always last for an entire piece - often arriving after a minute or two or coming in and out of the music - but they always help to provide steady ground to be built upon.
"Malstrom," which begins with some tom work from drummer Dejan Terzic, lives in an uncertain state until bassist Patrice Moret provides a firm bass/base line and then Terzic moves to a snare drum-based cadence. Likewise, zigzagging phrases are present at the top of the title track and the music only really gels when Terzic establishes a firmer groove. Once this happens, Landolf settles in and sounds terrific. When Landolf moves to flute - providing some eerie three-note cells over vague ambience at the top of "Calling The Spirit" - it's hard to know where things are going. Just when this one looks like it will float away, Moret is there again to lock things in.
While the above examples are an indication of the way Landolf's musical constructs are often held together, communication between musicians is what really keeps it interesting. The album-opening "Lehar" begins as a saxophone-centered piece with some glockenspiel work from Terzic and supportive bass work from Moret. As time goes on, bass and saxophone become more conversant and Terzic still remains in the background. Little by little, Terzic joins the conversation and becomes an equal partner and - as a bonus - Moret provides a terrific bass solo here. "W.E." is the most immediately impressive display of Landolf's abilities as a writer and saxophonist. His playing, whether working over Moret's instantly appealing bass line, moving in unison with Moret, or soloing, is hip as can be. Terzic's playing is equally pleasing but Landolf doesn't let it go there. After a couple minutes, the music starts to disintegrate...but then it comes back to life and continues its joyous journey.
As good as Landolf is on tenor saxophone, his bass clarinet work might be better. "Les Bouts Du Monde" is a beautiful display of musical intimacy between these three musicians and exceptional balance exists between bass and bass clarinet here. This is just one of many examples of the shared vision between Landolf, Moret and Terzic on New Brighton." -AllAboutJazz
"The term, "Impressionism" has been bandied about with such regularity in recent times that it has all but ceased to mean anything, much less suggest the kind of music that came from the pen of Claude Debussy and, a short time later, from that equally famous French composer, Maurice Ravel. Every once in awhile, however, there is a genuine reminder that the art of impressionistic suggestion is alive as it was at the turn of the 19th century. The latest and rather powerful impressionistic set of compositions (and performances) comes by way of New Brighton, from Domenic Landolf, the Swiss reeds and woodwinds player, who turns in exquisite performances alongside astute and stellar turns by extraordinarily expressive, fellow-Swiss bassist, Patrice Moret, and the Serbian-born, Germany-based percussion colorist, Dejan Terzic.
This well-matched union is occasioned by a possible visit to the now desolate shores of New Brighton, formerly a bustling boardwalk along the shores of the mouth of the Mersey estuary, on the western side of the British Isle. The fabulously toned cover picture on the album jacket says it all: a ghostly reminder of the "Hell Hole" that once attracted teddy boys like John, Paul, George and Ringo to land's end on the Wirral Peninsula, Merseyside. But there is much more to the album than the wonderfully curved melody of "New Brighton," or the skittering shuffle of "The Beatles Go East." Landolf captures sweeping vistas and broad swathes of panoramic soundscape on his adroitly manipulated tenor horn. His breathless solos are crafted like the whispering of night-sprites mingling with hobgoblins, as they traverse a crepuscular landscape. Clearly Landolf has listened carefully to a select group of tenor practitioners from Lester Young to Joe Henderson, but his voice is a singular one - softly caressing each note that he brings forth, each phrase that he utters with warmth and humor, and every line that emerges from the burnished bell of his tenor.
On bass clarinet, Landolf is not very different. "Les Bouts du Monde" is a classic example of how to make a bass clarinet forget its cutting tonal edge, for what emerges from the curved bell of that instrument, at the hands of Landolf, are warm and gilded sounds that carve through the air with the resonance of belfry in motion, yet with sensuous caressing warmth. His minimalism is displayed throughout, but especially on the truly memorable "Calling the Spirits" and "Kululeka." The broad tremolo and perfect intonation displayed on the classic ballad, "My Old Flame," shows Landolf to be both an old soul as well as a contemporary master of the tenor. Fortuitously, he is urged on by Moret's spectacular harmonics and Terzic's deft enharmonic splashes. Together, this group raises the bar on trio music without making too much of a noise. The charm of New Brighton is spectacular and unforgettable." -AllAboutJazz
JazzTimes (p.77) - "[T]hey turn in a sublime rendition of the jazz standard 'My Old Flame.' A superb outing."
Personnel: Domenic Landolf (alto flute, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone); Dejan Terzic (glockenspiel, drums).
Audio Mixer: Jason Seizer.
Recording information: Pirouet Studio, Munich, Germany (03/04/2009-03/05/2009).
Tenor saxophonist Domenic Landolf straddles the fence between odd-metered modal music, free improvisation, and a smattering of neo-bop. His trio, featuring bassist and fellow composer Patrice Moret, is exploratory without pushing the envelope, just a bit edgy, yet in many instances low-key. He's more surefooted on tricky material such as the title selection and "W.E.," adds bass clarinet or flute at times, and welcomes drummer Dejan Terzic's glockenspiel to brighten his otherwise terse but literate voicings. While the tracks unfold from easy swing to lively spirited expressions, you hear Landolf overall as a work in progress. ~ Michael G. Nastos