The Gravity of Love CD – Press Reviews
Read a couple of reviews we got so far for our new CD. There is also a great Review in the Down Beat Magzine, which you can download and read as a PDF here: Gravity of Love, Down Beat
Review From: Step Tempest by Richard B Kamins
September 29, 2012
Pianist-composer Peter Madsen has always impressed me with his musicianship; in group interactions with bassist Mario Pavone or guitarist Michael Musillami, he is often a driving force with his forceful solos. He is equally at home in “free” sessions as he is in blues-based “swinging” tunes. Madsen moved to Vorarlberg, Austria, after he getting married in 2000 and immediately got involved teaching and performing. He assembled a group of musicians, giving them the monicker Collective of Improvising Artists (CIA) and began playing throughout Europe. Madsen began developing music for string ensembles, discovered a local theater troupe Dante’s “Seven Deadly Sins” and decided to work with them. Thus was born the Seven Sins Ensemble which gave birth to Madsen’s new Playscape recording, “Gravity of Love.”
The vast majority of the CD is given over to Madsen’s “Dante Suite”, 7 compositions separated into 3 sections, “Excessive Love”, “Deficient Love” and “Malicious Love.” The ensemble features Herbert Walser (trumpet, horns, electronics), Dominick Neunteufel (acoustic bass), Alexandra Lartseva and Monica Tarcsay (violins), Simon Frick (viola, electronics), Bianca Riesner (cello) and the splendid drummer Alfred Vogel. Vogel is quite impressive especially when he is pushing the music or “coloring” behind the strings, he seems to be “right”. One of the more pleasing aspects of this music is the different “grooves” Madsen creates; whether it’s the straight-ahead jazz of “Excessive Love: 1. Jealousy” or the splintered funk of “Malicious Love: 6. Excessive Desire”.
There are so many fine musical moments. Ms. Riesner’s unaccompanied cello introduction to “Malicious Love: 7. Avarice” is a tasty morsel filled with plucked notes and a sly rhythmic pace. Walser takes a number of excellent solos, none better than his hard-edged lines on “Excessive Love: 3. Rage”. There’s the blues-infused “Deficient Love: 4. Indifference” with its heady blend of strings and brass that leads into a sparkling piano solo and a short yet evocative trumpet spot.
The album closes with “Swiss Chocolate”, a tasty confection that helps wash away the memory of all those sins. Walser takes the first solo, rising atop the percussive piano chords and solid bass work of Neunteufel. Madsen follows, his dancing lines underpinned by Vogel’s active drumming. Not too sweet, just right, this piece is a pleasing ending to an impressive program.
“Gravity of Love” is built on composer Peter Madsen’s reading of “The Seven Deadly Sins” but the music is far from doom and gloom. In fact, this music sings with creativity and lively interplay, the intelligent arrangements setting off the fine solo work. One can hear that the Seven Sins Ensemble is a real working unit and not just a “studio” creation. Let’s hope we hear more of this band! For more information, go to www.petermadsen.us.
Review from Jazz Times (USA)
October 19, 2012
By Bill Milkowski
Pianist-composer Peter Madsen, a mainstay on the New York scene since the early ’80s, made a courageous leap into a new life in 2000 by marrying an Austrian woman and relocating to her rustic hometown of Vorarlberg, nearly 4,000 miles from the Big Apple. But rather than allowing his improv chops to atrophy, Madsen has flourished there as the head of various groups he put together with the locals. His Seven Sins Ensemble combines string quartet with a top-shelf jazz quartet featuring the outstanding trumpeter and improviser Herbert Walser, who is prominently featured throughout Madsen’s seven-movement “The Dante Suite” (based on Dante’s Inferno). There are moments of rare beauty here, as on the melancholy ballad “Deficient Love: Indifference” and the poignant closer, “Swiss Chocolate,” both featuring remarkably lyrical solos by Walser. The driving and dissonant “Excessive Love: Rage” showcases the considerable skills of drummer Alfred Vogel. The more experimental “Malicious Love: Excessive Desire” and “Excessive Love: Hubris” tap into Madsen’s subversive, Sun Ra-indebted side. The strings, wildly interactive throughout, are far more than window dressing on this extraordinarily ambitious outing, which stands as Madsen’s crowning achievement to date.
Downtown Music Gallery
By Bruce Lee Gallanter
Pianist Peter Madsen, married an Austrian woman and moved to Austria in 2000 after being based in NY for the previous twenty years. Since then, Mr. Madsen has been teaching, running a workshop and then leading a larger ensemble (14 piece) called the Collective of Improvising Artists (or CIA). Madsen wrote his own music and arranged songs by Ornette, Sun Ra and Hermeto
Pascoal for the ensemble. More recently, Madsen organized a smaller version of CIA called the Seven Sins Ensemble which includes a string quartet with a piano/trumpet led jazz quartet. Although I am not familiar with any of the musicians involved, except for the leader, Madsen has done a great job of selecting strong players and writing challenging material for them. Trumpeter Herbert Walser is featured throughout and is indeed most impressive. His solos as well as the interplay between the piano and the rest of the quartet is consistently spirited and crafty. Mr. Walser often reminds me of Kenny Wheeler with a superb tone and d epp resource of ideas. Mr. Madsen, whose own playing has long been an integral part of ensembles with Mario Pavone, John Abercrombie and Stan Getz, is a master pianist. His
playing is often the central voice within this band: leading, holding it together and navigating the complex charts with ease. Both Mr. Walser and violist Simon Frick play some electronics which is only added minimally and just as occasional sonic spice. It sounds as if the strings and jazz quartet are well integrated into one superb ensemble so hats off to Peter Madsen for being a strong leader and arranger. This is another gem in a month filled with many treasures.