Muellbauer and Köbberling also contribute two pieces each, and the trio integrates these naturally into the sound of the album. It is hard to tell which composer penned which piece, and this is a testament to the trio's talent as an interpretive group. Like all great piano trios, this group makes each piece its own.
This consistent and distinctive ensemble personality, owing in part to the group's razed hierarchy, blurs the line between composer and performer. Through the light texture of the compositions, where no sound is overplayed, no note wasted, each player's command of his or her instrument is brought to the fore. There is always a fine command of dynamics and a superb sense of group phrasing.
The album's most active piece, "Who's Next", a Thelonious Monk tribute, really doesn't go far beyond the dynamic and stylistic range of the rest of the album. This isn't to say it is a weakness, though. What the album lacks in macro-phrasing it more than makes up for in micro-detail.
Imprint is impeccably recorded, and, like all ECM records, bears the characteristic influence of Manfred Eicher as producer. The dark-hued, hushed aesthetic of the album is consistent throughout. In the album's promotional materials, Hülsmann commends Eicher for his help in "leaving the pieces alone" throughout the process of recording. This trio is committed to a pure and finely focused presentation of the compositions, and it distinguishes itself from other trios - even some similar groups on the ECM label - by its restraint. The song is always near on Imprint, and always inviting.
March 29th, 2011 on ECM records
- Julia Hülsmann - Piano
- Marc Muellbauer - Bass
- Heinrich Köbberling - Drums
- Rond Point
- Grand Canyon
- A Light Left On
- Storm in a Teacup
- (Go and Open) The Door
- Kauf Dir Einen Bunten Luftballon
- Lulu's Paradise
- Zahlen Bitte
- Who's Next