Martina Verhoeven & Dirk Serries – “Innocent As Virgin Wood”

Martina Verhoeven and Dirk Serries finally debut as a duo with this exceptional album.  ‘Innocent As Virgin Wood’ refers to the purity of wood in sound, feeling and performance.

Everything about this series promises sophistication – and I am only three tracks in to my first taste of it – “Virgin Wood” by Verhoeven & Serries sets the standard high.

Fully improvised and recorded at the acoustically flawless Sunny Side Studio in Anderlecht, this album listens as one long story of deep listening and microscopic interaction.  Daring, attention-span absorbing and unsettling while spacious and refined.  This is by far the most challenging album on A New Wave Of Jazz to date, according to the write up I was sent.

While the vinyl industry keeps on booming, the opportunity for the smaller labels to get a vinyl release ready seems to get even more difficult.  In survival mode, Dirk Serries returns with a brand-new series on compact disc to continue the ongoing exploration and the urge & need for sonic adventures, exchanges and performances.  Also the new line of releases will grant them, as well additional freedom, genre-wise, to expand and signify all what is possible under the A New Wave Of Jazz flag, each release still features the impeccable analysis of critic and free jazz connoisseur Guy Peters.

Now then, I review a lot of improv stuff on this blog – but none quite of the calibre of “Innocent As Virgin Wood.” This is a remarkable album in that the musicians are brave enough to let the notes sing and breathe. There is plenty of silence on these tracks on the album. It is a brave album. It is a technically accomplished album – it is a brilliant album.

It leaves the listener as a pensive question. As in, what is performance? Am I performing as ‘listener’ to the album? It asks a lot of questions but does not give any answers – like a big question mark – you are left on the edge of your seat as you gracefully slide from a piano twinkle to an eloquent guitar pluck.

A beautiful, brave album – I wish them every luck with their series.

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