2021 JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GROUP | Florian Hoefner Trio | | The JUNO Awards

You are never really allowed to leave the music of Florian Hoefner once you have listened to it. The pianist has a knack for taking possession of your sensibilities, making the notes of melodies leap off the page and into you.

The music of First Spring is no different. Setting out to capture the splendour of music swirling around in his mind, the pianist has succeeded in relocating the ethos of traditional songs and the high and lonesome sound of bluegrass to the landscape of jazz. In the collision of these musical realms, something truly remarkable and miraculous emerges that gives new meaning to the definition of “beauty” and becomes central to Hoefner’s aesthetic credo.

The swinging and sedate pulsating heartbeat for this music is provided by drummer Nick Fraser while Andrew Downing brings his contrabass – frequently wielding his magical bow as he plays con arco – to augment the rhythmic realm and join Hoefner in exploring the melodic content of the music as a kind of second lead-voice.

He demonstrates that the heart of tradition lies in innovation. If Hoefner remains in the tradition, he also soars – and in doing so – also sets the music on this album exuberantly free.