Aafje van Summeren Trio
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Aafje van Summeren Trio

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


With a delicate and airy but accurate voice, Aafjie van Summeren weaves a musically seductive spell on Space Unknown. Of the eight tunes, five are originals co-written with Steve Blanco, whose trio recently released Contact.

Summeren is accompanied by Blanco and Adam Roberts, the bassist who added so much to Contact. Roberts is so strong that the drums are not missed, and Blanko's piano playing is as much on display as Summeren's singing. The effect at times would be that of a piano duo record with occasional vocals, if it were not for structure of the tracks. These usually start with Summeren's unique vocals, which are then combined with unusual melodic and harmonic structures.

The original tracks, then, become much more than tunes. They seem to have a story line that is outlined by non-standard melodic structure and harmonic treatment. The story is then handed from the vocalist to instrumentalists, who expound and expand its meaning until the vocalist returns with the melody now forever changed.

The covers change the whole equation, because they place the group in creative pop/jazz standard territory, with all of the familiarity that comes with it. Any instrumentalist, especially a singer, risks a lot by asking for comparisons. This is particularly the case with Joni Mitchell's “Black Crow,” and thus the song's original features and this version become united with the composer in the collective audience's mind. How can one produce a fresh version while staying in touch with the song's original meaning? Summeren creates more than a Joni Mitchell imitation, but less of a total (and successful) reworking than ”Woodstock” got by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young.

”Skylark” has its own dangers. It's one of the most instantly recognizable and beautiful tunes in the jazz songbook, and hence everyone has recorded it. The feeling on this piece, to these ears, is that in an effort to stand apart, the song lost its melancholic undertone through an overly fast and light treatment.

All of this pales, however, with the triumph of “You Don't Know What Love Is,” a torch song if there ever was one. Needing the barest of accompaniments, Summeren pours herself into the song, letting her airy voice and perfect pitch carry her emotions directly to the listener. The song totally exposes the singer, and any kind of attempt to merely play at being a wounded lover would surely fail in this context. Summeren does not just pull it off, she can melt your insides.

–Budd Kopman, All About Jazz - All About Jazz


AAFJE VAN SUMMEREN / SpaceUnknown
The trio is named after the vocalist Aafje Van Summeren, but don’t be fooled. Together pianist/composer Steve Blanco and bassist Adam Roberts bring just as much flavor and individuality to the music as her voice. This makes the album so interesting by giving each musician their own freedom to the music. The tracks can be enjoyed through three musician’s perspectives and together as a whole. Having both been drummers, Blanco and Roberts bring an extra sense of percussiveness to the group. Van Summeren feels a greater sense of expression without drums in the ensemble. Her rhapsodic voice flows melodically over the color tones Blanco lays down. His playing complements van Summeren’s voice in harmony with proper emphasis. Robert’s playing is entirely acoustic, serving as the rhythmic backbone to the pieces, while innovating snaps and clicks to give it color. “Three Windows” is a truly unique track deviating from the traditional jazz playing. It is choppy and bold, yet works brilliantly by allowing each instrument to “talk”. This is an album that can be listened to over and over again; bringing something new to the ears.– Steve Chung, Ins & Outs Magazine - Ins & Outs Magazine


Clef Notes?Unknown not for too long for this beat has a sense of unique rhythms to it that seperates it from the inundation of debut spins. Aafje van Summeren Trio opens the doors to a sharp sound with a vocal execution only Ms Summeren could unveil. The pitch is tight however fresh with tone. "Space Unknown" is a curious yet splendid spin in this new wave of jazz therefore this effort has legs to continue a long journey.??Title cut "Space Unknown" has a somewhat mystic flow as if Ms Summeren was developing the lyrics ans message as she records, which can only be translated in the real world as a methodical delivery. Which works very well in her case as the other cuts demonstrate.??Classic percussion and keys are injected into her performance, which marries the effort together. Room for growth... Of course what debut hasn't but the foundation set is solid and pure.??Karl Stober, ejazz news - ejazznews


Discography

Space Unknown, debut album. Some tracks streaming on IC radio.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Fresh to the jazz scene, Aafje van Summeren has already begun to bring audiences a taste of her true inimitable vocal style. Sprung from her cultural upbringing in the Netherlands, van Summeren has taken her talents to New York City to help bring an innovative and heartfelt sound to the musical masses. Van Summeren leads as vocalist in a trio (The Aafje van Summeren Trio), made up of accomplished jazz pianist, Steve Blanco, and renowned bassist, Adam Roberts. Steeped in acoustic style and tradition, each member brings a host of multi-layered rhythmic, harmonic and percussive elements to their music.
The Trio’s formation could best be described as coincidence. Van Summeren met Blanco while training at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Their keen admiration for one another’s unique style and talent led them to start writing originals together. Roberts, who has performed for over a decade with Blanco soon joined the trio – and they have since been gaining momentum with critics and jazz fans across the board.
The success of their collaboration has been described as “opening the doors to a sharp sound with a vocal execution only Ms. Summeren could unveil.” Their debut album titled “Space Unknown” has been hailed by critics for its “unique rhythms that separate it from the inundation of debut spins.”
The Trio has performed at many renowned jazz venues in and out of New York City, including Detour Jazz Club, WVBR FM, and the prestigious World Yacht. They continue to work together to redefine and bring new life to modern jazz music. Through original composition of songs including “Autumn,” “Three Windows,” and “In the Middle of the Night”, van Summeren’s rare vocal abilities and inherent musical talent are seamlessly showcased.
Holding a Masters degree in Jazz Vocal performance, van Summeren has studied under many great singers including Ineke van Doorn and Rosanna Vitro. She has taken in the experience of working with these influential artists and molded it into her own matchless style.