Pianist/composer Florian Hoefner states that the concept behind his latest album Desert Bloom is the behaviour in certain arid locations where a huge rainstorm will occur every few years: the dormant seeds of the wildflowers “suddenly germinate” and “the colours explode.” That image resonates throughout the evocative and tasteful works comprising Desert Bloom. The opener, Between the Lines, is beautifully hypnotic with a repeating piano line that is joined by a contrapuntal bass and when the drums enter it switches effortlessly to a funky groove. The title song begins with a bowed bass, elegant cymbal strikes and sporadic piano chords, works into a nice bass solo until a very funky ostinato theme emerges.
Hoefner’s compositions are subtle, nuanced and always moving; the album is a jazz delight because of the interplay amongst all three musicians. Andrew Downing’s bass work is precise and funky, Nick Fraser’s drumming is a masterclass in keeping the groove going while sprinkling in surprising and enlightening percussive elements; and Hoefner’s piano can be understated, driving, impressionistic or whatever else is required.