Philippe Lemm Trio | City Birds | Out 9.7.18

Fast paced and no breaks

It loves and hates, it gives and takes

The beat of the city, full of caffeinated souls

Full of passion and energy full of plans and goals

Through the filter of ambition climb the ladder for the view

All in search of recognition and a spotlight for the few

High up above, where the city birds can see

How coherence is the rhythm and harmony the key

That's my place of worship that my place to be

That's where the beat of the city

Beats inside of me.

City Birds
by Philippe Lemm

The Philippe Lemm Trio, comprised of Dutch drummer Philippe Lemm and American pianist and bassist Angelo Di Loreto and Jeff Koch, was voted "Best Group" at the International B-Jazz Competition as well as "Best Solist". The group's performance of Di Loreto's original composition "Salt Road" earned an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award in 2013. The three musicians met during their master's degree at Manhattan School of Music in 2011, where they quickly realized that they had an undeniable musical chemistry and understanding of each other's musical personalities. They gave masterclasses, and toured with Bollywood music star Shilpa Rao. Musically, the group's sound draws influences from the classical, jazz, and progressive rock idioms.

Their sound is captivating and exciting. Their first album " New Amsterdam" was received well internationally and the trio toured extensively in Europe, India and The U.S The trio's current release 'City Birds' is inspired by the work of NY painter Craig Anthony Miller. The positive vibe or energy that Lemm got from his paintings, led him to immediately buy one of the works. The birds on the album cover have been created by Miller as well and are a symbol of the search for freedom within the limitation and 'rules' a big city, the Big Apple more specifically. New York, to Philippe Lemm, really is a city where one is free to do whatever (s)he wants to do. Anything is possible; just choose! At the same time the album cover is a reference to the trio's first album 'New Amsterdam', since the image reflects the skylines of both New York and Amsterdam. "There are so many different scenes and subcultures – each with their own set of rules, languages and dialects. The level however is always very high… Jazz, Hip Hop, Gospel, pop, electronic – you name it.

If one were to have a bird's view, one would see that all these styles actually have a lot in common. They're really not all that different!" Philippe says. Which does in fact account for the eclectic approach that the trio is much appreciated for. "Living and working in New York has made me more comfortable and more confident in combining these styles, without concern for possible criticism of jazz purists and traditionalists, " the Dutch drummer confides. The album was also very much inspired by the search for a balance between composition and improvisation. And a few pieces were created after watching TV shows like "Anyone Who Knows What Love is" (Black Mirror), "Arya" (Game Of Thrones) and "Amsterdams Parfum" (Het Schaep Met De Vijf Poten). Lemm: "We used to watch Black Mirror while touring together." The song "Emerge" is about the struggle to fit in and belong, of women in the professional dance world. The "ideal body" in this world often leads women to have a bad self image and to eating disorders. The song is about freeing oneself from the judgement of others. "Funchal" is written by Angelo and inspired by the Spanish island Madeira."Elvy" is the result of a cooperation with rapper BrainPower and features a collective improvisation. The lyrics are drawn from the reallife experience of BrainPower almost losing a family member and how the realization that death can be eerily close by, can put things in perspective.

"City Birds" is all about how melody and sounds represent feelings of love, hate and doubt in the city of New York. About ambition and loneliness. Inspiration and recognition. "We pride ourselves in telling a musical story with greatest care possible. What kind of stick I use to draw a certain sound from the drums… how we divide melodic parts between bas and piano. Stuff like that. The arrangement is the starting point and the solo's – though not a goal in itself - naturally emerge from it. About losing oneself in details, distancing oneself and then putting things in perspective by taking a bird's eye view.

write your comments about the article :: © 2018 Jazz News :: home page