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Johannes Luley — Follow Your Heart
(My Sonic Temple MST-2101, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-03-22

Follow Your Heart Cover art

Most probably know German-born American guitarist and composer Luley from a couple of excellent bands he has been a member of — Moth Vellum, and Perfect Beings after that; the last Perfect Beings album, Vier, came out in 2018 before the group disbanded. Some may know the two excellent solo albums he released in 2013 and 2017, Tales from Sheepfather’s Grove and Qitara, respectively. Most of these albums were created at his own studio My Sonic Temple, which also served as his business, but with 2020 came the pandemic and all the government lockdowns that came with it. Luley’s Los Angeles studio was forced to close down, resulting in a business crisis, and a personal creative crisis as well, leaving Luley with no desire to play, record, or perform any music at all for nearly six months. In August 2020 his muse returned and he started working on some new ideas, eventually committing himself to recording an album of jazz interpretations, working with his former Perfect Beings bandmate, drummer Dicki Fliszar. As work progressed, more musicians were added to the project: David Hughes (upright bass) and Jonas Lindeborg (trumpet and flugelhorn), and finally Max Kaplan (soprano sax and bass clarinet) completed the quintet. In addition, percussionist Simon Carroll is featured on one cut. Follow Your Heart features nine compositions by artists like John Abercrombie, John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner, Eberhart Weber, Bill Evans, and Miles Davis, along with several others, all respectfully covered with brilliant production throughout. The album opens with Eberhard Weber’s “Yellow Fields,” which sets the stage for all that follows, joining a number of other standouts including the McLaughlin-penned title track, the Bill Evans / Miles Davis number “Blue in Green,” Kenny Wheeler’s “Heyoke,” Ralph Towner’s “Brujo,” and Abercrombie’s “Telegram,” but the truth is that every piece here is a stone classic, both the original compositions and the quintet’s interpretations. Fans of the ECM sound will find plenty to appreciate in Follow Your Heart.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Johannes Luley

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