By Catalina Maria Johnson | Published February 2019
Johannes Wallmann’s eighth album as a leader, Day And Night, connects the German-born, Canadian-raised pianist and composer with a highly accomplished set of New York colleagues: trumpeter Brian Lynch, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, bassist Matt Pavolka and drummer Colin Stranahan.
Wallmann’s confident, muscular and elegant playing leads a set of tunes evenly divided between standards and original compositions. The opening track, “Press Briefing,” described as an impression of a White House press conference, builds in tense interplay between Stephens and Wallmann with Lynch adding bright and fierce trumpet that helps conclude the tune with a dynamic flourish. The pace then mellows a bit, gliding along on Thelonious Monk’s “Think Of One,” the last third of the performance showcasing Stranahan’s nuanced, crisp beats. The set continues with an interpretation of the Cole Porter classic “Night And Day,” its title inverted to name the disc. Another Wallmann original, “No Blues For No One,” follows, highlighting the horns’ smooth-as-silk grooves in a thoroughly satisfying tune. A slightly edgy take on the standard “All Or Nothing At All” includes Middle Eastern nuances, and fades down, leading into “Toddlin’,” which brims with clipped, bouncy notes inspired by Wallman’s youngest daughter’s first steps. The album closes with a fully fleshed-out quartet version of “What Now?” that highlights the essential phrasing of Pavolka’s bass.
Day And Night, a nuanced set of tunes balanced in perfect dynamics, is meant to be sipped and savored from beginning to end.
Day And Night: Press Briefing; Think Of One; Nocturne: Night And Day; No Blues For No One: What Now?; All Or Nothing At All; Toddlin’; Solitude; Bright Mississippi; What Now? (62:08)
Personnel: Johannes Wallmann, piano; Brian Lynch, trumpet, flugelhorn; Dayna Stephens, tenor, baritone saxophone; Matt Pavolka, bass; Colin Stranahan, drums.