This is a group with a strong identity of its own, developed steadily since the trio’s founding in 1997. Hülsmann’s well-crafted melodies – drawing inspiration from classical music and pop as well as the jazz tradition – establish the atmospheric climate of the music.
Recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in March 2010, “Imprint” is an album of poised, lyrical playing. Hülsmann credits producer Manfred Eicher with maintaining the album’s patient pace. “Whenever we felt the temptation to play more busily, he’d remind us that the music must flow. Naturally, we want this, too, but sometimes it takes a little courage to leave the pieces alone.” At the album’s conclusion, however, the musicians romp into a tribute to Thelonious Monk, high priest of deceptive ‘simplicity’. “Who’s Next” is a slyly swinging piece, freely created, but very much in the tradition, and a reminder that even European jazz has its roots elsewhere.
Hülsmann contributes seven pieces to the programme: “Rond Point”, “Grand Canyon”, “A Light Left On”, “Juni”, “Go And Open The Door”, “Lulu’s Paradise”, and “Who’s Next”. Bassist Marc Muellbauer provides two tunes (Ritual” and “Ulmenwall”) as does drummer Heinrich Köbberling (“Storm In A Teacup”, “Zahlen Bitte”). The one tune in the set from outside sources is the Austrian-German Schlager hit “Kauf Dir einen bunten Luftballon” written in the 1940s by Anton Profes for the musical comedy “Der weiße Traum”.