Composer and saxophonist Tobias Hoffmann is a musician and creative with a fine ear for melody and a clear understanding of how to craft organic, engaging, cinematic soundscapes time and time again.
This latest collection, an album entitled Retrospective, brings all of these qualities together, offering up a project loaded with riffs and uplifting moments colour and vibrancy. The full jazz ensemble, skillfully guided by the sax and a single meandering melody, makes for a partly nostalgic yet currently refreshing listening session that’s incredibly impressive from a musical perspective.
While the album’s opening and title track paints an upbeat and dance-worthy ambiance around you, the compositions that follow provide a series of different moods and scenes, each one emotionally considerate in its own right. The journey in full effectively represents the underlying topic of retrospect and reflecting on times and issues that have passed by.
Happenstances is a little more mellow, softer in general, and seemingly more immersed in the unpredictability of classic jazz. Then Horns Alone steps in to add a whole new layer to the experience – a well-placed moment of solo performance, mildly melancholic, led by precisely what the title promises.
Procrastinator is a personal favourite, a rhythmically excitable and scene-setting piece that brilliantly encapsulates the fine art of procrastination by means of a series of distractions and flickers of intermittent energy and suddenness. Afterwards, Frühlingserwachen injects a free-flowing and spacious hit of spring time and natural vibes into the project.
During the latter half, Propulsion is another highlight, a soulful and shoulder-swaying moment of absolute swagger and calm confidence, with stunning musicianship, and an overall vibe that completely entrances. Then, Who’s To Blame follows with equal energy yet a jittering, questioning aura, which again really well captures the underlying sentiments.
Remembrance is nicely placed towards the end, a calmer moment of reflection that’s likely to draw up unique memories or thought patterns for each and every listener.
Venteto follows and cleverly reignites a faster pace and a more upbeat energy level. The piece goes on to fill the room with that wholesome, united orchestral brightness, yet the journey pours through with various details and moments that lean back and forth between optimism and uncertainty. Then things rightfully come to a close with the soothing and aptly titled Am Ende des Tages – smooth sax and hints of piano create a blissful finishing moment.
As an introduction to the artist, or simply a go-to whenever the evening needs a little instrumental ambiance to keep things moving, Retrospective is a dazzling release, from a performer with a clear passion for musical creativity and expression on every level.