Dan Tepfer Trio -][- Five Pedals Deep – [Sunny Side Records, 2010]
In his forthcoming trio release, Five Pedals Deep, wildly inventive pianist Dan Tepfer plumbs the depths of conventional harmony, engaging pop modalities, minimalism, and jazz tradition with the audacity and irreverence of a deep-sea explorer. The 28-year-old, Brooklyn-based pianist has forged a richly layered collection of lyrical, immediately accessible compositions that upon repeated listenings reveal a nuanced scaffolding of atmospheric soundscapes beneath the surface.
Beyond the eclectic influence of such vanguard groups as indie rockers Dirty Projectors and electronica maven Aphex Twin, Tepfer drew inspiration for the album from Thelonious Monk. “When you listen to Monk’s music, you can put it on for anybody, it doesn’t matter if they’re into jazz, and they love it,” says Tepfer. “The reason for that is that it’s got really strong melodies, there’s a real coherence to the sound, it grooves, and there’s a strong feeling of fun that comes through in the music. I think in many ways I’m trying to do a contemporary version of that.”
Tepfer features the deft interplay of two eminent musical contemporaries, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Ted Poor, a departure from his longtime collaboration with bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Richie Barshay, his touring trio for the past six years.
The “sound of surprise” is evident throughout, the players never relying on reflexive facility as they navigate the varied terrains of Tepfer’s original compositions, mostly written over the past two years. This ranges from the minimalist ostinato of “All I Heard Was Nothing,” to the dense drum ‘n bass-inspired rhythms of “Peal, Repeal,” to the languorously dissonant beauty of “The Distance,” with four minute-long interludes serving as connective tissue. Tepfer’s visceral tie to the music cuts through in the wistfully nostalgic “Le Plat Pays,” Belgian troubadour Jacques Brel’s stirring homage to his homeland.
In his solo rendition of “Body and Soul,” Tepfer includes a subtle nod to mentor and collaborator Lee Konitz, conspicuous by his absence, although Konitz’s influence is deeply felt. “Nobody plays ‘Body and Soul’ like Lee does,” Tepfer says. In 2009, he released a duo album with Konitz called Duos with Lee. “One thing that’s really come up for me in the last four years now, playing with Lee pretty regularly, is the integrity of melody. I feel sinful if a phrase doesn’t get resolved.”
..:: Source: Amazon.com ::..