Lukas Sestak – Lighter Notes (ENG review)

Sony Music - March 8th 2024
Lukas Sestak – Lighter Notes (ENG review)

This jazz album releasing on March 8th is quite fun beforehand; Lucas Sestak’s humor permeates every note, and one can unmistakably detect a rock culture from which he draws inspiration. Following the release of his album “Right or Wrong” in 2020 under Sony Music, performances for two presidents, a three-week tour in China, and much more, Sestak returns to his roots with “Lighter Notes.” It’s true that pianists’ albums are as abundant as newly budding leaves on trees during this springtime. Take, for example, the track “Tocata”; it borders closely on the “cartoonish” style, reminiscent of the energy felt when chasing after Jerry. In reality, the question one must ask about Lucas Sestak is: is he closer to a rock star than to jazz? Regardless, any type of music has the right to exist as long as quality is present, at least that’s my viewpoint.
The entire album was recorded live, without a click track or backing tracks, advocating for the authentic live sound of Sestak’s piano trio as they navigate through his complex arrangements and impressive range of influences. Alongside Sestak are Alexander Broschek on bass and Nicholas Stampf on drums, both classmates at the renowned Pop Academy in Mannheim, Germany, and established musicians in their own right, regularly performing alongside artists such as Alice Merton, Nick Hakim, and Conic Rose.
More danceable than intellectually stimulating, it doesn’t matter; when pleasure is there, and fortunately, such albums exist, it serves as a beautiful entry point into the world of jazz for those who find this musical form too complex. An album that feels good, hiding a virtuoso pianist from a generation raised on various musical styles. However, here, with the rhythmic section, one realizes that the world of rock is never far away, recalling bands like the English group “Yes,” which itself flirted between various musical styles at the time. So, this is a form of particularly European craftsmanship that can equally amuse Europeans and Americans.
As the title suggests, “Lighter Notes” was guided by a conscious effort to adopt a more delicate and dynamic approach to playing to give each note more meaning. Influenced by the soundscapes of Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, Sestak prepared his piano with materials including felt strips and adhesive tape, offering a warm and intimate aesthetic to contrast with the explosive bursts of skillful energy for which the pianist has become famous.
So, whether you’re just curious or passionate about the various forms of piano/jazz, this album will undoubtedly hold a unique place in your music collection, a kind of “favorite.”

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

PARIS-MOVE, March 8th 2024


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