Daan Herweg In Search Of The Lost Chord (Key Element 2024)


As they say, it’s not about the goal, it’s the journey to it that counts.

Daan Herweg - In Search Of The Lost Chord


Daan Herweg (piano), Lorenzo Buffa (bass), Jeroen Batterink (drums), Suzan Veneman (trumpet), Matthias van den Brande (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone)


at Key Element Studio in 2023


as Key Element Records in 2024

Track listing

Cloud Cathedrals
Until My Muse Comes Along
In Search Of The Lost Chord
Onderweg Naar Bloemfontein
Promenade (Patches Of Sky)
Symphony Of Loose Ends

We were sitting in the garden, tired and a bit apathetic. A woodlouse crawled under a plant pot. Two ants were carrying a sliver of sawdust to the patch of lavender. It was like a little shell on their backs. It fell to the ground. They painstakingly picked it up and resumed their path.
“Sisyphean task,” I said.
“This is our life,” my wife said.
“At least we can skip the zoo.”

Who knows which events sparked the imagination of Daan Herweg when he decided to give a tune on his new album the title of Sisyphus. In Greek myth, the naughty and cruel king Sisyphus, among other assorted misdemeanors, accused Zeus of getting it on with his daughter. The Gods got him in the end and forced him to carry a rock on his back on the hill on the island of Thanatos till the end of time. The myth was updated for the modern world by existentialist writer Albert Camus in the early 1940’s.

Herweg’s Sisyphus is an eventful trip, starting at a Latin-tinged up-tempo pace, a danceable feast, mixed with a Brubeckian, Blue Rondo A La Turk-feeling, developing into hard swing. It’s lithe but also dramatic. It might be that one moment his Sisyphus is fighting off demons but another moment is strolling down the boulevard with a lollypop between his lips.

Tyrion, which also originates in Greek mythology but perhaps is inspired by the myth-grabbing tv-series Game Of Thrones, is a playful Bach-tinged affair, enlivened by Matthias van den Brande’s supple embellishments on soprano sax. Finally, concluding this bundle of references, a word on the album title of Herweg’s 2nd album as a leader, In Search Of The Lost Chord. Remember The Moody Blues?

In his liner notes, Herweg says: “Often we don’t recall the moment we were blown away by the bright colors of a toy as a child. This can happen with music too. I remember as a kid stumbling onto chords at the piano without any prior knowledge being devastated by their beauty. Only later come music school, compositional class, day to day life and one sometimes loses that feeling as the rational brain comes in and takes center stage. Soon you will find yourself searching for that lost chord without even knowing it.”

Herweg is pianist first and foremost but also part of an indispensable jazz species: the jam session leader. He organized the weekly sessions on Monday at De Nel in Amsterdam for 15 (!) years, a playground for the scene that at one time even featured Brad Meldhau and Cory Henry. (Where the hell was I?)

On his personal search of the lost chord, Herweg’s group consists of bassist Lorenzo Buffa and drummer Jeroen Batterink, completed by saxophonist Matthias van den Brande. Trumpeter Suzan Veneman appears on two tracks. Eventfulness didn’t stop with Herweg’s mythical jazz excursions. For instance, he comes up with Until My Muse Comes Along, a Horace Silver-type smoker that displays the kind of sprightly piano playing that Nel regulars had grown accustomed to. South-Africa-inspired Onderweg Naar Bloemfontein could almost, but not quite, be defined as The Beatles’s Norwegian Wood put to jazz.

Quite exciting popfunkjazz bookends the program of Herweg’s newest release. Cloud Cathedrals finds Veneman in a melancholic, Miles-ish bag, Herweg in a contrastingly expressive mood. Symphony Of Loose Ends, one of myriad examples in contemporary music of jazz influencing Steely Dan and Becker/Fagen having impact on jazz in return, wonderfully and paradoxically, features two surprises in the guise of a polka intermezzo and lively trumpet/tenor exchanges.

Herweg wrote a batch of strong tunes. On Herweg’s sole cover, Leonard Bernstein’s Tonight from West Side Story, a solo rendition, his piano sounds slightly come from a distance, vaguely as if a shellac record is played on an old Victrola from the 1930’s. Nice touch.

Take notice. Herweg is a very accessible and lively ‘new old’ cat on the block.

Daan Herweg

Check out Daan’s website here.

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