Erik Leuthäuser “In the land of Ronny Whyte”

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Mons Records is happy to present “Time For Blue”, the debut release by Cologne based trio “By The Way”. Founded in 2019, the trio’s roots go back to the University of Music and Dance in Cologne where pianist and educator Frank Wunsch came together with two ex-students, vocalist Emese Mühl and guitarist and composer Christina Zurhausen.

The album comprises ten tracks ranging from well known standards through to a selection of original compositions by Wunsch and Zurhausen respectively. This relatively uncommon trio format consisting of Piano, Guitar and Voice provides the musicians the room to explore the material, often in an unconventional manner as can be heard on “BTFW” and “All The Walls I Strike My Head Against Are Inside My Head”. At the same time, this album also pays tribute to the mainstream as can be heard on the albums opening track “Ain’t Misbehavin” that is given a conventional reading and the ballad “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” that includes some interesting interplay between the piano and guitar.

Zurhausen commented that “…this album is a tribute to life in all its facets, the good, the hopeful, as well as touching on those thoughtful and melancholic moments.” Warum die Eile” (Why the Rush in English) was written by Christina Zurhausen and according to the composer is a song of “…courage and encouragement on those hard days when nothing seems to succeed and the melancholy plagues the mind.” Also from the pen of Zurhausen is the somewhat humorous blues titled “Numb” that closes out this album. Christina points out that this song is “…an ode to drunkenness” and takes a light hearted look to the “silliness that comes with it when one is in such a state.”

Vocalist Emese Mühl contributed the lyrics to Frank Wunsch’s composition “Time For Blue”. With this track, Mühl takes a poignant look at the process of grieving the loss of a loved one. Wunsch creates a perfect melancholic basis for this piece with his intricate harmonies allowing plenty of room for Emese to tell this story.

“Joana’s Waltz” was written by Wunsch some 30 years ago and as an instrumental composition has appeared on more than 10 CD releases. On “Time For Blue” the song receives it’s premiere as a vocal composition with lyrics written by Antje Gerstmeyer in 2010. Gerstmeyer’s lyrics describes the play of colours of a rainbow and Mühl’s vocal performance further reinforces this.

“No Moon At All” by David Mann and Redd Evans is perhaps one of the lesser known jazz standards from the Great American Songbook. This song was included in the set by Emese. She recalls a dark night in Cologne as the inspiration to explore this classic that has become one of the trios favourite songs in their repertoire.