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Bruno R: Ascensio (2003)

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Bruno R: Ascensio No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Bruno Råberg’s third album as leader is firmly concerned with form. The bassist has played in bands of different stylistic pursuits, like Orange Then Blue, which threw everything from free form to mainstream jazz into the stewing pot; and with Eje Thelin, whose band swiped the caboodle from dixieland to free jazz. Here Råberg is contained. He prefers structure to intuitive freedom. While he does not completely tighten the leash, this would have been a more interesting recording had the musicians been given more room. From the latitude granted them, they prove their mettle in creatively extending logic.

Råberg sets up many moods on this recording using motifs from Carnatic (South Indian) music and a smidgen of African rhythm. Not all of the tunes succeed in communicating—but when they do, it is a credit not only to the composition, but also to the links the players forge between themselves. Grenadier sets up the theme for “Estaron,” a stop-shift movement that jabs at a perky edge and then unfolds a series of changes opening an uneven field that is fertile ground for Chase on the alto, his a quieter, lyrical voice. “Caffe Nero” has a light swinging feel, Grenadier and Chase breaking up the rhythm in unity, and then clasping the linear devolution. Another perky outing comes on “Maya.” Råberg is wonderfully inventive here, his lines creating a becoming timbral palette. “Triptych” resonates in the soft splashes of color, impressionism that oozes in the seamless unravelling of the form.

Track Listing: Maya; African Daybreak; Through the Window of Compassion; Stilts; Ascensio; Estaron; Triptych; Easter Song; Caffe Nero; Angle of Repose

Personnel: Phil Grenadier

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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