Slovenia-born pianist Miha Gantar released his next musical opus today, his second ambitious 5-disc box set, Amsterdam, under the innovative Portuguese label Clean Feed Records. This extensive collection ventures into multiple musical realms, ranging from solo and duo piano to captivating collaborations with a string quartet and an opening showcase of a piano trio setting.
Miha Gantar’s musical journey is deeply rooted in his family’s rich musical heritage, and this is profoundly evident in his versatile approach to music. His inaugural release in 2022, the five-CD set “Introducing,” showcased his diverse influences and multifaceted relationship with music. However, with Amsterdam, the spotlight shifts towards close-knit relationships and introspective musical reflections.
Reggie Workman writes in his liner notes “It’s a clever idea, but would be only half as interesting if the music wasn’t exceptional. Each piece of this rather massive work entices and lends the effect of anticipation, as if “to be going on to a next chapter of an engrossing book.”
The exploration begins with the opening disc, “Reaching For The Infinite,” a piano trio setting that acts as a gateway to a boundless musical journey. Listeners are greeted with a sonic experience that prompts seasoned ears to bask in satisfaction while captivating new ears with its intriguing essence. Within this exploration of the jazz piano trio, Gantar guides us through a tapestry of modes and lineages, stretching the boundaries of tonality. “Reaching For The Infinite” features the exceptional talents of Tristan Renfrow on drums and Nick Dunston on double bass. Their synergy in this musical liberation results in a warmth rarely encountered in contemporary trios led by a piano.
The second disc introduces the spellbinding piece, “Dream Sequence No. 7: Passage,” featuring the Koma String Quartet. This composition allows the strings to navigate and complement Gantar’s leadership, creating a sonically pleasing experience. The essence was to preserve the intimacy, fragility, and magic of their inaugural meeting in the studio. The resulting dialogue between the musicians is nothing short of exhilarating and cerebral, effortlessly swaying in a wave-like motion, painting vivid musical landscapes.
Transitioning to the third disc, we encounter the captivating “Common Orbits,” a duet with the alto saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore. The spontaneity of this album exudes profoundness, portraying improvisation at its zenith. The players exhibit patience and restraint, waiting for the perfect cues and reading each other’s musical body language to evoke emotional responses. It is a testament to the finesse of improvisation and the telepathic connection shared by seasoned musicians.
The final two discs that encompass this musical odyssey feature Gantar’s prowess in piano duos and solos. While piano duos aren’t groundbreaking, the raw and intimate dialogues presented in these recordings are a rarity. Reflecting on inner emotions and expressions, this format becomes a medium of self-examination. It is a journey through the inner workings of the artist’s psyche, an exploration of the buried passions and pains that fuel creativity.
Crucial to understanding Gantar’s musical essence is the consistent theme of unity and expansion that reverberates throughout his compositions. Whether performing solo or within an ensemble, the music emanates from within and expands outward, sparking conversations with the spaces he inhabits and the fellow musicians accompanying him on this profound journey.
With the release of “Amsterdam,” the 26-year-old Miha Gantar continues his mission to evolve both as a creative artist. However, Gantar is not one to linger in stasis for too long. He thrives on concentrated bursts of creativity, preferring to concentrate, release, and embrace the possibilities that each new venture holds. Amsterdam is more than just a collection of musical compositions; it is a testimony to the evolution of an artist, a testament to the depth of human emotions, and an exhilarating auditory journey that invites listeners to traverse boundless realms through the soulful language of jazz.
Miha Gantar’s Amsterdam, was released by Clean Feed Records today on all streaming platforms. The 5CD Box set is set for release on the 27th of October. You can stream each of the 5 disks from the set at the link below:
More information about Miha himself can be found on the Miha’s website.
For those readers in Amsterdam, Miha will be performing a house concert tonight (Details can be found on his website) and will be launching the new box set live on the 15th of November with a duo concert featuring Michael Moore on saxophone and clarinet in De Roode Bioscoop. Further opportunities to see Miha live are listed below.
20. 10. 2023 Miha Gantar Trio @ Miha’s Living Room, Amsterdam
15. 11. 2023 Miha Gantar with Michael Moore @ De Roode Bioscoop, Amsterdam
20. 12. 2023 Miha Gantar Trio Residency @ De Roode Bioscoop, Amsterdam
Last modified: October 23, 2023