After exploring ideas from classical music on their last album “The Chamber Music Effect”, the innovative trio VEIN continues to resolutely pursue this path with their latest production “VEIN plays RAVEL” – a collection of compositions by French composer Maurice Ravel.
Maurice Ravel was an obvious choice for VEIN. Although the composer and arguably one of the most enigmatic figures of classical music lived over 100 years ago, his compositions share a lot of common ground with VEIN’s soundscape.
Ravel lived in an era during which representational tradition transitioned into abstract modernity. The Swiss trio finds itself in a similar situation: breaking new ground with its music without rejecting the traditional values of jazz. Likewise, Ravel helped himself to many styles of music for his compositions, including baroque, Spanish music and jazz. VEIN's influences are similarly multifaceted. The underlying idea of “VEIN plays RAVEL” was to use selected pieces by Maurice Ravel as a template, translate them into VEIN-esque musical language and thereby repeat Ravel’s approach some 100 years later.
VEIN chose entirely different compositions for which Maurice Ravel used various stylistic models: Three pieces from the suite “Le Tombeau de Couperin” and “Mouvement de Menuet” from sonatina for piano, in which Ravel refers to baroque music. Or the “Blues” taken from the violin sonata and the “5o’clock Foxtrot” from the opera “Enfant et les Sortilèges” for which Ravel used sounds from jazz and the salon music of the time. Just as Maurice Ravel helped himself to different styles of music and translated them into his musical world, VEIN draws its inspiration from Ravel and has added new elements like grooves and improvisations, thus creating a sound that is unmistakeably VEIN yet constantly resonates Ravel’s spirit.
At the heart of “VEIN plays RAVEL” is “Bolero” – one of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century. In VEIN's version, the trio is joined by a horn section that emphasises the orchestral aspect of this uncompromising musical work.
In addition, Andy Sheppard, British saxophonist and one of the greats of European jazz, features as a guest soloist for “Bolero” and “Mouvement de Menuet”. Andy Sheppard completes the trio with his lyrical style and seamlessly fits into the blended world of VEIN and RAVEL.
To mark its 10-year existence and following over 400 concerts on four continents (in over 40 countries), VEIN is treating itself to “VEIN plays RAVEL” an album on which they, once again, set foot on new territory and also a documentation of the trio taking yet a further step into the future.