If you like your jazz with a serious kick, then look no further than the music of Scandinavian artist Christer Bothen. A potent bass clarinetist and composer, Bothen was influenced musically and personally by the late free jazz artist Don Cherry. Cherry turned Bothen on to his early music collaborations with the great Ornette Coleman, and that was all that was needed to ignite the creative flame that 7 Pieces
Imagine combining Ornette's free jazz expressionism with Nordic and African influences, tinged with post bop and punk rock, and then you might get an idea of the music that drives Bothen. From the funky bottom bass line of "For Y" to the extreme rock guitar fireworks of "The Remainder," the music is progressive, challenging, and beyond the ordinary. Bothen's crew of young musicians make up the Acoustic Ensemble that delivers deep and colorful solos with precise rhythms that can change on the drop of a dime, as on the odd metered "Be Still / Keep Going." Individual talents are just as strong as the group collective. A good example appears on the aptly titled cut "Lovers Q," with quarrelling and obtrusive instruments soloing for attention. Each talented voice is heard loud and clear in the midst of the cacophony. And speaking of voices, Bothen's bass clarinet is exacting and clear as he honks, solos, and sings with power and skill.
One of the criticisms of the current jazz scene is the lack of risk taking and self-expression found among today's musicians. This may be highly debatable, but for a view of progressive and adventurous music, check out the unconventional jazz sounds of the Christer Bothen's Acoustic Ensemble's 7 Pieces.
Personnel: Christer Bothen: Bass Clarinet; Kjell Nordeson: Vibraphone;
David Stacken: Guitar; Johan Berthling: Bass;
Paal Nilssen-Love: Drums