Dirk Balthaus (piano), Joep Lumeij (double bass / guitar) and Inigo Grimbergen (drums) took up the challenge to record again fourteen of George Gershwin’s well-known standards (1898-1937). It takes courage to interpret such well-known material with the pretension of producing a listenable album. Particularly in the classical trio setting you will fail miserably if you don’t have something special to tell. However, the cd, simply entitled ‘Gershwin’ is an excellent album. It is, of course, the richness of Gershwin’s compositions that makes listening such a pleasure.
The album contains fourteen interpretations where choices have been made, arrangements compiled and accents placed. The listener will be impressed by this trio’s lectures. The title could have been ‘Gershwin reinvented’ as this is jazz of the highest level, both inventive and creative. It is new discovery for Gershwin, who is generally recognised as a classical composer. Here he is seen in the light of impressive jazz.
The team playing between the trio is remarkable. While Balthaus clearly leads the melody line, the accompanists Lumeij and Grimbergen create the space. A perfect combination, making you think of Ahmad Jamal, Monk and Bill Evans. The cd finishes with a version of Gershwin’s classical composition ‘Prelude #2’, a duet by Balthaus and Lumeij on guitar. ‘Gershwin’ has become a fascinating story.
(Frank Huser, Jazzflits 3-2007, NL)
The attic sessions
Pianist Dirk Balthaus joined the "Deep River" trio in September 2005. At that time the trio’s job was to accompany Dutch vocal group "Deep River", playing their swinging gospel, jazz, blues and pop tunes in all of Holland’s major theatres as well as venues in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
We - Dirk, Joep Lumey on bass and myself on drums, - enjoyed playing together so much that we decided to see how the trio would sound with the piano in the lead.
The idea of recording a CD with the trio was born - now we needed a theme! We shared a love for Gershwin's timeless music. It had always been around when we studied at the conservatory and had been a great influence on us all. Yet we'd never played these pieces together. This project created the perfect opportunity.
The Marnix studios, situated amongst the rooftops in the heart of Amsterdam with view over the city, provided the atmosphere for this all-inspiring recording. For three tropical summer days in June, with the sun beating down on the roof, we climbed the five flights of stairs to record the tunes that are now on this CD - the attic sessions were born.
We had fun arranging the well-known tunes to make them sound fresh and new while still familiar and recognisable. We wish you as much pleasure in listening as we had in playing.
(Liner notes by Inigo Grimbergen, December 2006)
Dirk Balthaus is a pianist based in Amsterdam and is very active in the European Jazz scene. He has three records on his name: ‘Tales of the frog’ (Acoustic Music records), ‘The healing’ (Via records), ‘On children’s ground’ (Munich records) and plays on several others as a sideman. He worked with famous jazz artists like Lee Konitz (USA), Benny Bailey (USA), Ack van Rooyen (NL,) Dale Barlow (AUS), Lew Tabackin (USA) en John Engels (NL) amongst others.
Beside his Trio activities he plays and composes for the band JuzzFlirtin (www.juzzflirtin.com) and is a permanent member of Joan Reinder’s Millennium Jazz Orchestra.