Sooner and Later marks the return to the trio format for veteran Berlin-based pianist Julia Hülsmann, and accompanying her on this latest ECM Records journey are Marc Muellbauer (double bass) and Heinrich Köbberling (drums). The trio have played many live shows together around the world the last few years, and their experiences together have culminated in these new studio compositions, which leave out the various other personnel Hülsmann has played with recently and goes back to the core trio sound.
Whether it be the light, uplifting sounds of "You & You" or the more dramatic, mesmerizing jazz of "From Afar" and "Thatpujai", the trio blaze a steadfast and highly melodic path every step of the way. Hülsmann's majestic piano flights are inspiring throughout, taking a more somber approach paired up against Köbberling's nimble drum work and Muellbauer's elastic lead lines on the tender "The Poet (For Ali)" and more jovial on the quirky "JJ", one of Sooner and Later's more upbeat pieces and a real showcase for the bands use of counterpoint and shifting meters. "Soon" is another winner, a complex arrangement featuring weaving piano melodies over almost funk based rhythms, the leader wowing the listener with not only her technical skills but also her ability to craft a catchy melody housed within intricate passages.
This is extremely engaging jazz from a trio of true professionals. With material that runs the gamut from highly technical arrangements to songs that feature more soothing, melodic fare, Sooner and Later is a complete winner from start to finish.
01 From Afar
03 You & You
04 Biz Joluktuk
05 All I Need
06 The Poet (For Ali)
11 Der Mond