Described as an ‘experimental keyboard/drums project’ the post-millennial Jazz trio Grand Pianoramax was conceived by Berlin-based Swiss pianist, Leo Tardin. (He won the Montreux Jazz Festival International Piano Competition in 1999). Other members of the group are percussionist, Dominik Burkhalter and Black Cracker, an MC born in Alabama but raised in Germany and NJ.
This track ‘Daybreak’ - from their second most recent release - particularly appeals to me for its swoon and the way everything seems just a little out of synch and for the extraordinary beat made up of multiple layers. This beat has an airy quality, elusive but is still mesmerising. In the promo material, percussionist Burkhalter’s style is described as ‘pugnacious’ (among other adjectives) I have no sense of this at all here; this beat is delicate, unexpected and complex. I tried to reproduce the effect of it in words, but my efforts couldn’t come close.
Indeed, the music is a kind of paean to layering and texture (alongside the virtues of sweet construction: around 1’30 the piano changes to a declamatory tone and one minute later it falls, hollows out) while playing around with familiar musical elements normally associated with pop. Perhaps this is why it reminded me of the ultra-romance, love lost of French language chanson singers such as Véronique Sanson, even though the ambience of 'Daybreak' is so much darker and stylised.