“Focus – a fitting title. ‘Focus’ is the perfect depiction of what defines pianist Laia Genc and saxophonist Stephan Mattner as a duo. Mattner’s imaginative ideas (the album contains one of Genc’s compositions) are mostly backed by a spare piano, gradually developing an increasingly multifarious duo sound. Mattner dubbed the first four tracks „Sketches“, which is exactly what they are: concise motives brought together and gracefully intervowen without compromising the singularity of the piece. Some soundscapes are minimalist, dreamy and weightless before picking up speed without a warning. The solos come about naturally and organically from the two musicians’ joint creative ideas. Despite the tight interaction, the sound remains smooth and relaxed. The emphasis lies on the great effect caused by a small impulse. In almost 45 minutes, Genc and Mattner display genuine art as a duo.”
“Laia Genc’s (piano) and Stephan Mattner’s (tenor and soprano saxophone) performance on Saturday at the Birdland jazz club was truly something for musical connaisseurs. Mattner’s original compositions, conclusively titled „Sketches“, are brief and fascinating tales, somewhere between classical music, jazz and theater music.
Piano and saxophone harmonize so perfectly that they seem competely interlaced in their dialogue, while the players occasionally coax onomatopoeic sounds out of their instruments (using the piano’s strings, the saxophone’s key-cups). Saturday evening’s performance found the inclined listener embraced by the sensual and poetic atmosphere of this music.”
Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung
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