Sandy Brown Jazz

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Jazz As Art

Pablo Held

Forest Spirits
from the album Ascent


When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before.


Pablo Held



Pianist Pablo Held was born in Hagen, to the south of Dortmund in Germany. He studied jazz piano in Cologne from 2004 with John Taylor and Hubert Nuss and in 2006 formed his Trio with Robert Landfermann (bass) and  Jonas Burgwinkel (drums), since then they have released ten albums on the Pirouet and Edition labels.

Pablo has received numerous awards including the WDR Jazzpreis, the SWR Jazzpreis, the Horst & Gretl Will Scholarship, the Förderpreis des Landes NRW and the Westfalen Jazzpreis. He has collaborated with many top jazz musicians such John Scofield, Ralph Towner, Chris Potter, Jorge Nasheet Waits, Norma Winstone, Tom Harrell and Mike Gibbs, and has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America and Canada. In 2018 he set out on the road with a new project "Pablo Held's Buoyancy Band" with Kit Downes, Percy Pursglove and Sean Carpio.

Since 2017 Pablo has been curating his own concert series at the LOFT in Cologne called "Pablo Held Meets". He also teaches at the IFM Osnabrück, at the Conservatory of Maastricht and gives workshops worldwide.


Pablo Held Ascent

Pablo Held’s new album, Ascent, his second for Edition Records, is a collaboration between his long-running trio and the great Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras. Regarded as one of the most talented and adventurous pianists and improvisors in Europe, Pablo has been building a formidable reputation, not only as a pianist of outstanding ability but also for his considerable musicality, energy and risk-taking. Ascent is described as 'a deeply satisfying fusion of powerful and expressive music'.

So how would I describe the album? As you would expect, a trio that has been playing together for a long time has a mutual understanding and guitarist Nelson Veras fits seamlessly with the others. I particularly like his playing on two tracks, Forest Spirits and Seizing where the drums are held back in the mix and guitar and bass play together.

The first track, Unlocking Mechanisms, and track 4, Forest Spirits, tell you what to expect as their titles are descriptive. Some tracks are explorative with ideas coming fast from the piano, and which for me needed repeat listening to appreciate them. On the other hand, tracks 7 and 8, Musica Callada # 24 and Excerpt From Piano Concerto # 4, I find immediately, lyrically satisfying. Here again I really appreciate Robert Landfermann's bass playing. Pablo Held's Trio is well worth discovering.

There is a 2 hour video of the Trio with Nelson Veras from June 2019 playing many tunes from the album, and some others, if you click here. For details and samples of the album on Bandcamp click here.


For our Jazz As Art feature we can listen to the track Forest Spirits from the album. Play the music and scroll down to see the pictures I have chosen to go with the music. See what you think - is there a picture that works best for you?.
(I think this only works if you spend time with each painting).










Papilio painting








Leonid Afremov





Afremov Playing The Guitar






Egle Terminaite





Egle Terminaite painting








Simon Chinnery





Simon Chinnory painting








Jackie Gardiner





Jackie Gardiner painting









Uncredited painting of The Leshy





The Leshy








Jasmin Langsch





Jasmin Langsch High Spirits








Philip Gaida





Philip Gaida Double Bass








Kamila Kretus





Kamila Kretus Dancing Lights








Robert Bateman





Robert Bateman Spirits of the Forest








Tracy-Ann Marrison





Tracy Ann Marrison painting








David Miller





David Miller Waterfalls








Phillipe Monthoux





Phillipe Monthoux Autumn Forest








Sabrina Zbasnik





Sabrina Zbasnik painting








Brian Froud





Brian Froud Green Man




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Other pages you might find of interest :

More Jazz As Art
Video Juke Box
Tracks Unwrapped
Name That Tune

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