Daniel Janke Winter Trio – Available Light (ENG review)

Chronograph – Street date April 19th 2024
Daniel Janke Winter Trio - Available Light

An album by a pianist seems to be the trend of the year 2024, where the world’s best pianists and composers release their albums. This is indeed the case here with Daniel Janke, who is accompanied by Basile Rahola on double bass and Ariel Tessier on drums, for an uncompromising album that will certainly speak to the most discerning jazz enthusiasts. Janke’s compositions are particularly well-crafted and offer a romantic and poetic universe to the listener. This recording presents a collection of Janke’s original compositions, showcasing the breadth of his experience in composing for cinema, as well as his education in gospel and roots music. Combined with his love for jazz and contemporary improvised music, the result is an unparalleled album, with elements from all these disciplines blending to create an original and evocative sound. The pieces incorporate both structured composition and free improvisation, harmoniously blending North American compositional aesthetics with a European approach to improvisation.

Daniel Janke is also the composer of numerous film scores, including “Sovereign Soil” [NFB, dir. David Curtis, 2019]; “Mountain of Sgaana” [NFB, dir. Chris Auchter, 2017]; “Subconscious Password” [NFB, dir. Chris Landreth – shortlisted for an Oscar in 2014]; and “Touch” and “The Susan Smith Tapes” [dir. Jeremy Podeswa, 2001]. For more of his film scores, you can watch his showreel. To find sheet music, visit the Canadian Music Centre. Janke also composes for live performance. This is likely reflected in the compositions on this album; at times, some tracks might seem choreographed, while at other moments, there’s a more kinetic approach. “Available Light” remains a highly intellectual album, providing architecturally structured arrangements, finely crafted forms where melodies occasionally take precedence over themes sometimes reminiscent of improvised music. This composer seems to have no boundaries; however, one can also detect his Canadian roots in his musical writing, which evokes vast spaces not commonly found in European music.

With this album, the Daniel Janke Winter Trio invites you on an auditory adventure, where hints of repetitive music actually give you an image that allows you to enter Janke’s universe when the music becomes less obvious. This is followed by more accessible tracks that are like stage settings, scenery that encourages contemplation. One could almost speak of Janke’s work as contemplative music, as it evokes the same emotions as certain paintings in exhibitions that leave us transfixed with fascination. An album that will likely become “indispensable” once you’ve listened to it.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 10th 2024

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