State of Mind

State of Mind

Gilles Grethen & Strings

Label: Double Moon Records
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917141429
Catalog number: DMCHR 71414
Releasedate: 21-10-22
- The young Luxembourg guitarist Gilles Grethen linked up with eleven strings.
- An interplay between orchestra, orchestra band and the quartet alone.
- Opulent sonority and esthetic surprises.
- The music always remains sensual despite all the complexity.
"State of Mind" is a bold undertaking, because on his second album after last year's debut “Time Suite”, the quartet of the young Luxembourg guitarist Gilles Grethen linked up with eleven strings. “I wanted to have a larger line-up for the second album, although I first thought of a big band,” Grethen admitted. "But I always had the sound of strings in my mind when composing, because I come from classical music and I exclusively played that as a child and adolescent. The sound didn't let go of me, and I thought I had to do something with it; I even had some good ideas right away.”

The combination of jazz and strings has a long tradition, and the album “Charlie Parker with Strings” is generally regarded as the beginning of this symbiosis. Grethen also has a preference for the silky sounds. "When all the strings play together beautifully, they act like one big instrument," he said. “This great sound that can come from it fascinates me.”

But only providing a jazz quartet with a few strings playing around it was out of the question for Gilles Grethen. The son of a music professor and a bassoonist also wanted to have room for improvisation – he wondered how he could he achieve it? “That was the big question I faced when I composed the music,” the guitarist said. "I then solved it in such a way that the strings do not play in the parts of the improvisation in which the quartet improvises. They play a major role in the themes and the composed parts, but the quartet comes to the fore in the improvised parts. It is always an interplay between orchestra, orchestra and band and the quartet alone, which always takes over when it comes to improvisation.”

As a result, we hear the band with the German trumpeter Vincent Pinn, the Italian bassist Gabriele Basilico and the Luxembourg drummer Michel Meis in many different moods and soundscapes. For example, almost depressing atmospheres arise from nowhere in the opener “Change”, but it is also aggressive when Pinn blows to the attack, for example, in “Outside”. From contemplation to intoxication and delusion to transcendental experiences, various states of the human mind are made acoustically tangible, but the music always remains sensual despite all the complexity.

“I have confronted this term ‘State of Mind’ and its theme time and time again," Grethen recalled, "and the individual pieces also bear names that describe a certain state of mind. But pieces such as ‘Transcendence’ or ‘Delirium’ are also connected to the universe and thus refer to the first album.” The members of his band are important and constant components for Grethen in his music. “Gabriele Basilico has an incredible sound and very beautiful ideas when accompanying,” he stated describing his bassist. “He does not fall into the typical bass role, but also plays with melodies and the theme.” Grethen is also euphoric about the drummer Michel Meis, who is responsible for keeping things together on “State of Mind”. “He contributes an incredible amount of energy, which fires your own enthusiasm so much while you are playing that the music almost explodes.”Besides Grethen himself, the spotlight is on Vincent Pinn, not only because of the stirring unisono passages, but because he almost seems to fly over the strings. “He has a very round sound and improvises very imaginatively,” Grethen commented. “He plays with melodies and is full of surprises. He never plays the way you expect, and I think that’s great.” Together with the strings, the Gilles Grethen Quartet conquers new worlds that oscillate between opulent sonority and esthetic surprises.