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«Erlebnisse» means deeply felt experiences in German and it is a beautiful title for an album of piano solo free improvisations by the Toronto-based American-Canadian (with Israeli roots and great interest in the culture of Bhutan) pianist Noam Lemish. This album reflects Lemish’s inclusive language and he dedicates it to American seminal composer-pianist W.A. Mathieu, who studied Middle Eastern and North Indian classical music and accordingly «Erlebnisse» blurs the lines between jazz, contemporary music, Eastern European Jewish music and even Israeli pop.

Lemish says that he thinks of free improvisations as «a practice that is simultaneously inwardly and outwardly revealing and rewarding», and in a way, this art of the moment represents his hyphenated identity and inspired his multiplicity and general disinclination to follow genre conventions.

«Erlebnisse» is Lemish’s seventh album and his first solo piano album. The 16 short Erlebnis pieces were recorded in a single take, completely improvised in real-time, and all these sonic experiences suggest the wide-ranging emotional territories of Lemish’s aesthetic, intimate and thoughtful, lyrical and vulnerable, but also adventurous and fierce.

«Erlebnisse» is arranged as a continuous suite, where each improvisation-Erlebnis offers another nuanced perspective of Lemish’s in-the-moment creative expression. His playing at times sounds as paying respects to Keith Jarrett’s – especially Jarrett’s «G.I. Gurdjieff: Sacred Hymns» (ECM, 1980) – as Lemish adopts the resonant Eastern timbres and quarter tones of the kanun to the prepared piano («Erlbnis 5»). Other pieces emphasize how much his jazz language is informed by classical and contemporary music, his sense of storytelling and drama, but most of all his free spirit as an artist.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Noam Lemish (p, prep. p)


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