May 29, 2024

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CD review: Gerhard Daum – Jazz Ballads 2022: Video, CD cover

Jazz Ballads is the fourth album by Gerhard Daum that I’ve reviewed since 2017, and each album has been a surprise – from solo piano to guitar to ensemble and now to trumpet.

Daum’s trumpet is the lead instrument on all of the tracks along with an ensemble that includes piano, flugelhorn, guitars and MIDI bass – all played by Daum – and drums/percussion performed by Adam Nussbaum. Daum composed and arranged all fourteen tracks and the album was recorded in Cologne and Berlin, Germany. Daum calls the style of this album “instrumental storytelling” which meshes well with his well-established career as an award-winning film music composer for US and European films and TV. The music is built around beautiful melodies and “the sonic identity of the lead instrument, the trumpet, reminiscent of legendary jazz standards and performers.” By blending elements of jazz with neoclassical and cinematic music styles, Daum has effectively created a sound that is both classic and new. Most of the music is performed at a relaxed tempo and has the feeling of a well-seasoned ensemble of musicians who play together often. Well, I guess “they” do play together often, but “they” is mostly Gerhard Daum himself. This is a great album and a fascinating project!

Jazz Ballads begins with “Air,” a light yet very soulful piece for trumpet and piano with upright bass and brushed drums – a great way to set the tone of the album! The cool and atmospheric “Nightbird” keeps the trumpet out in front, but the piano is right behind it along with bass and drums. “Welcome Back” picks up the tempo a bit with a sultry trumpet lead supported by acoustic guitars, bass and drums – happy and free! “Alone Together” summons images of a very romantic slow dance in a darkened room with just the dancers and musicians – this time, trumpet, piano, bass and brushed drums expressing a hint of the blues. And speaking of blues, “Road Less Traveled” combines trumpet with steel guitars, bass and drums for the theme to a movie that hasn’t been made yet – a favorite! “Reel Inn” has a different flavor with muted trumpet, vintage guitars, Rhodes piano, bass and drums. A bit mysterious with a cool and aloof demeanor, it’s a fun little piece! “Shades of Blue” goes much darker, this time with flugelhorn, piano, bass and brushed drums. I think something is lurking around the corner! My favorite track is “Route 96,” a fantastic theme for muted trumpet, steel guitars, fretless bass and drums. Dark, intriguing and emotionally rich, I really love this one! “Soulcatcher,” an elegant and bluesy duet for trumpet and piano with bass and drums, moves slowly, with grace and purpose – I really like this one, too! “Easy Living” is the perfect music for a summer afternoon or evening, hanging out with friends – or even with a good book! – enjoying life and taking it easy. “Reprise” brings the album to a close with a relaxed, soulful trumpet melody supported by piano, bass and drums. Ahhhhhhh!

My intention was to create fresh tunes in a classical jazz standard way. Melody is an important part of my music and I like space between lines. Finding the right balance between sound and silence, leaving notes out is always challenging. I’ve just completed an Americana Suite – three pieces with guitars and string ensemble originating from different motion picture soundtracks I scored previously. My next project will be writing contemporary preludes for piano solo. For the album “Jazz Ballads” I was looking for a versatile drummer with a lot of experience. I was lucky Adam Nussbaum loved the music and my trumpet sound and was available at the time,- an interview with me said Gerhard Daum.

Gerhard Daum appears to be the rare artist who can do just about anything and do it all well! Jazz Ballads is an album that can easily move to the background, but it also becomes more nuanced and captivating the more you listen to it with full attention. The album is available from Amazon, Apple Music/ iTunes and streaming sites like Spotify. Highly recommended!

The award winning film music composer Gerhard Daum writes music for US and European films and TV, successfully blending the musical spirit of the two continents to create a fresh and unique voice.

Early in his life Gerhard learned to play the trumpet, performing in marching bands. In his teens he focused on the guitar and piano, subsequently studying classical music and Jazz at the universities of Karlsruhe, Germany and Graz, Austria, and later on teaching guitar and improvisation at the popular Jazz & Rock Schule Freiburg. Performing with internationally acclaimed musicians and touring with his own Jazz/Rock Quartet throughout Europe initialized his passion for composing and blending multicultural influences in his works.

Accepting an offer to work at the film music department of the Bavarian Broadcasting Station brought him to Munich. This was a great chance to work and communicate with directors and producers in finding the appropriate music for their films. The BR Radio/Film archive is an invaluable source of inspiration regarding film music. Gerhard spent a great amount of time analyzing and listening to scores from Rota, Waxman, Herrmann, Barry, Morricone and Williams among others. Multiple scores for TV films (Tatort), event movies and TV-series (Forsthaus Falkenau) followed due to his multifaceted background, additionally attracting offers to compose commercial and trailer music for well-known companies.

In order to further expand his knowledge and experience, Gerhard moved to Hollywood in the late nineties, taking classes in Music Ethnology at CSUN and the film music master class at UCLA. Working in Los Angeles over a decade, he composed scores for numerous independent movies as well as studio productions like Sony’s “Felon”, starring Val Kilmer and Stephen Dorff. Films with his score won the New York Film Fest Silver Medal and the Los Angeles Indie Fest Film Award; for his score “Every Child Counts” he was rewarded with the NTVA Music Composition Gold Award.
Today, Gerhard lives and works in Berlin. The vibrant and diverse city fuels him in the newest chapter of his exciting quest to achieve musical integrity.

Gerhard Daum believes that the excellence of a film music score is based on craftsmanship and musical vision. Craftsmanship ensures that the score supports the structure and the function of the film, the vision touches “the subconscious”, enhancing the psychological and emotional spirit of the characters in the movie. ~ gerharddaum.com

Jazz Ballads is the fourth album by Gerhard Daum that I’ve reviewed since 2017, and each album has been a surprise – from solo piano to guitar to ensemble and now to trumpet. Daum’s trumpet is the lead instrument on all of the tracks along with an ensemble that includes piano, flugelhorn, guitars and MIDI bass – all played by Daum – and drums/percussion performed by Adam Nussbaum. Daum composed and arranged all fourteen tracks and the album was recorded in Cologne and Berlin, Germany. Daum calls the style of this album “instrumental storytelling” which meshes well with his well-established career as an award-winning film music composer for US and European films and TV. The music is built around beautiful melodies and “the sonic identity of the lead instrument, the trumpet, reminiscent of legendary jazz standards and performers.” By blending elements of jazz with neoclassical and cinematic music styles, Daum has effectively created a sound that is both classic and new. Most of the music is performed at a relaxed tempo and has the feeling of a well-seasoned ensemble of musicians who play together often. Well, I guess “they” do play together often, but “they” is mostly Gerhard Daum himself. This is a great album and a fascinating project! ~ Kathy Parsons (mainlypiano.com)

Lyrical trumpet lines, reflective piano melodies, and shuffling drum patterns elicit deep emotion and thought in these expressive jazz instrumentals. ~ warnerchappellpm

01. Air
02. Nightbird
03. Welcome Back
04. Alone Together
05. Road Less Traveled
06. Kreuzberg Cafe
07. Abendstimmung
08. Reel Inn
09. Shades Of Blue
10. Route 96
11. Garden Of Dreams
12. Soulcatcher
13. Easy Living
14. Reprise

Gerhard Daum trumpet/fluegelhorn, piano, guitars, midi bass
Adam Nussbaum drums

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

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