Tag Archives: Who Trio

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

CF 135WHO TRIO – Less Is More (CF 135)
WHO stands for Wintsch (Michel, piano), Hemingway (Gerry, drums and percussion) and Oester (Bänz, bass). Active for over ten years under this embodiment, these artists are as distant from an ordinarily stale jazz trio as an exhausted reviewer could wish for. For starters, we find no surplus of swing in Less Is More, which makes me extremely intrigued. There’s much else to explore, though, and the musicians are not shy in attempting different routes, all leading to a single result: the expression of simple rhythmic and melodic concepts through a superior level of restrained interplay.

Either walking across intense abstraction (the impressive opening track “Inside The Glade” is, purely and simply, a masterpiece of concerned waiting and unsettled thoughts) or examining the details of metrical interlocking almost to the point of ritualism (“The Pump”, “The Eastern Corner”), WHO always manage to look unique even by maintaining the instrumental gradations virtually untouched. “Wedding Suite” may appear as a straightforward song yet it is full of dissonance – of the digestible kind – especially remarked by the ever-interesting, outside-the-canon figurations played by Wintsch, whose style is reserved and intelligently comprehensible at once, altered melodies and harmonic cleverness bathed in inspired suggestion. Banz sounds prosperous or emaciated depending on the context, the focus remaining on the sensible aspects of structural stability. Hemingway offers a great proof of sensitive drumming throughout, the subtlety of his percussive interventions during the most rarefied sections a lesson of self-discipline that many bangers should learn.

Don’t be fooled into thinking about ECM or similar comparisons: despite a graceful confidence and the total mastery of the tools at their disposal, these men’s music is a refined blend of sensitiveness and, at times, visionary drive that does not need the support of a church’s reverberation to affirm its durability in the listener’s memory.

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Cadence Magazine review by Phillip McNally

CF 135WHO Trio – Less is More (CF 135)
The name of the Who Trio, while it clearly is made up of the band members’ initials, also seems to imply the group sound. This is not the Gerry Hemingway trio, or the Michel Wintsch trio. So even though this little collective might appear to be just another piano trio, The Who Trio is actually an extremely sensitive threesome playing mostly group improvisations. They are hearing one another and responding, intuiting directions and evolving the group’s music together. Wintsch has a very light hand on the piano, favoring few notes and slowly appregiated chords, but he has a strong single note melodic sense. What an impressive range of technique and color bassist Banz Oester brings to the trio, and always in the service of the music and the group sound. And of course Hemingway’s ability to “lift the bandstand” is well known. So “Less is More” is a sensitive recording by an amazing trio, and it leaves me wishing all collective improvisation could be this rich and coherent.
©Cadence Magazine 2009 www.cadencebuilding.com

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

CF 135WHO TRIO – Less Is More (CF 135)
WHO stands for Wintsch (Michel, piano), Hemingway (Gerry, drums and percussion) and Oester (Bänz, bass). Active for over ten years under this embodiment, these artists are as distant from an ordinarily stale jazz trio as an exhausted reviewer could wish for. For starters, we find no surplus of swing in Less Is More, which makes me extremely intrigued. There’s much else to explore, though, and the musicians are not shy in attempting different routes, all leading to a single result: the expression of simple rhythmic and melodic concepts through a superior level of restrained interplay.

Either walking across intense abstraction (the impressive opening track “Inside The Glade” is, purely and simply, a masterpiece of concerned waiting and unsettled thoughts) or examining the details of metrical interlocking almost to the point of ritualism (“The Pump”, “The Eastern Corner”), WHO always manage to look unique even by maintaining the instrumental gradations virtually untouched. “Wedding Suite” may appear as a straightforward song yet it is full of dissonance – of the digestible kind – especially remarked by the ever-interesting, outside-the-canon figurations played by Wintsch, whose style is reserved and intelligently comprehensible at once, altered melodies and harmonic cleverness bathed in inspired suggestion. Banz sounds prosperous or emaciated depending on the context, the focus remaining on the sensible aspects of structural stability. Hemingway offers a great proof of sensitive drumming throughout, the subtlety of his percussive interventions during the most rarefied sections a lesson of self-discipline that many bangers should learn.

Don’t be fooled into thinking about ECM or similar comparisons: despite a graceful confidence and the total mastery of the tools at their disposal, these men’s music is a refined blend of sensitiveness and, at times, visionary drive that does not need the support of a church’s reverberation to affirm its durability in the listener’s memory.
http://touchingextremes.blogspot.com/2009/10/who-trio-less-is-more.html

All About Jazz review by Kurt Gottschalk

CF 135WHO Trio – Less is More (CF 135)
Gerry Hemingway Quintet – Demon Chaser
Much seems to have gone down in the decade since Michel Wintsch, Gerry Hemingway and Banz Oester released Identity on Leo. That was a solid piano jazz record with hints of the quietude that was, apparently, to come. For their new release, they succeed in finding a new parcel in that melodic minimalism that has Miles Davis, Philip Glass and The Necks as its borders. The title Less is More may be a bit of a clich�, but in this case it couldn’t be truer.

The pieces (most group compositions, with two credited to Oester) work in repetition and momentum to build their dynamic, leaving enough space that every accent becomes dramatic. Oester’s bass is, necessarily and wonderfully, a solid foundation. Wintsch endlessly recreates melodies, managing quick ideas within slow progressions. Such an expanse gives Hemingway an enormous field in which to play. He is always inventive, but here he sounds as if he’s been instructed to play a solo as slow as he could. The elements come together in an odd, enormously pleasing way, with a sort of placid restlessness.

Hemingway has long been a welcome accomplice in the Amsterdam scene. The concert rendered to record on the recently reissued Demon Chaser dates back to 1993, Hemingway employing names familiar within that city’s Instant Composer’s Pool (American ex-pat saxophonist Michael Moore, trombonist Wolter Wierbos and cellist Ernst Reijseger) for the outing, bringing in bassist Mark Dresser for the other side of the rhythm section. Five of the pieces were penned by Hemingway and are played with a celebratory energy by the band. The sixth, a broad sweep of a take on “Night in Tunisia,” perhaps gives indication of the scope and assuredness with which the group plays. The theme is barely hinted at for the first half of the piece’s 12 minutes, the horns circling without striking. For the second half, they only get a little closer to the original and yet it’s always there. That feeling of collective certainty is felt just as strongly on Hemingway’s pieces, even if the themes aren’t known ahead of time to the listener. Perhaps that is something that always makes the New Dutch Swing work: as long as all the players are thinking of the same song, they don’t really have to play it. Hemingway clearly knows how to use that strength to his advantage.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=34098

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 135Who Trio – Less is More (CF 135)
El propio Gerry Hemingway lo comentaba en la entrevista con Rogelio Pereira publicada en el número 26 de Oro Molido: “Pienso que este CD es una auténtica obra maestra, y un cénit verdadero en la evolución de este gran trío. … Esta grabación tiene un extraordinario sentido del espacio”. La grabación en cuestión es Less Is More, publicada por Clean Feed a principios de 2009. En ella el veterano batería y percusionista aparece acompañado por el pianista Michel Wintsch y el contrabajista Bänz Oestër.

Con más de cien grabaciones publicadas, Less Is More es uno de los puntos cumbres del catálogo de Clean Feed. La música de este CD está efectivamente llena de espacios. Su inicio con los casi veinte minutos de “Inside The Glade” (compuesta por el trío) y “Still Alone” (obra del pianista Michel Wintsch) muestra dos temas de una belleza escalofriante, capaces de absorber al oyente y trasladarlo a un estado de contemplación atemporal. Por el contrario, “The Pump” es una pieza nerviosa y entrecortada que establece el contrapunto ideal entre ese inicio estático y los quince minutos de “Wedding Suite”, con un inicio lleno de tranquilidad y belleza que a su vez es extraño y turbador. Las tres piezas finales (“Stardance”, “Hasna” y la sobresaliente “The Eastern Corner”, que muestra por momentos a los tres músicos utilizando sus instrumentos de un modo poco ortodoxo), son tres muestras magníficas de trabajo en grupo, con unos temas que se van construyendo poco a poco y que están basados en la escucha atenta entre los tres músicos.

Less Is More: otra joya más a añadir al catálogo de Clean Feed.
http://www.tomajazz.com/discos/breves.php?d=2009-07-01#wt_lim

Time Out Lisboa review by José Carlos Fernandes

cf-135WHO Trio – Less is More (CF 135)

“Less Is More” (Clean Feed *****), do WHO Trio, demonstra cabalmente o que o título proclama. O pianista Michael Wintsch, o baterista Gerry Hemingway e o contrabaixista Bänz Oester (cujos apelidos formam o WHO) averiguam quais as quantidades mínimas de melodia e pulsação rítmica necessárias para manter um tema a planar. Música com a beleza e a fragilidade de gotas de orvalho numa teia de aranha, mas cuja audácia e imprevisibilidade não a deixam confundir, em momento algum, com “jazz ambiente”.