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Torben Waldorff Quartet: Brilliance (2007)

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Torben Waldorff Quartet: Brilliance How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Don't expect Brillance to blow the roof off the house or light up any fireworks in the sky. This quartet outing—recorded live at the 55 Bar, NYC—stays for the most part in a subdued and reflective mode.

Guitarist Torben Waldorff was born in Denmark and is now based in the Oresund Region of Malmö, Sweden. His US connection comes from his studies at Berklee from 1984-'88, where he met the now prolific sideman—and lead artist in his own right—saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who, along with bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Jon Wikan, make up the rest of the quartet on Brilliance.

A calming restraint seems the plan of the night on this set, with the exception of the second number, "Jurotrash," a tune that starts out with a sub-surface smolder that eventually catches fire, with Torben ringing off roaring chords behind McCaslin's burning sax.

Four of the five tunes are Torben compositions; McCaslin penned "Seen From Above." The sound—I've used the words "restraint" and subdued"—stays straightforward, without much flash (that seems to be the point); but I've found it refreshingly mainstream, sporting just a bit of an angle, with Torben's chords glowing with a metallic, keyboardish (Fender rhodes) tint. His and McCaslin's solos always have something interesting to say. Brilliance is not a disc that blows you away, but rather one that creeps under your skin and convinces you to give it multiple spins.

Track Listing: Alice; Jurotrash; Astro; Seen From Above; Jeep.

Personnel: Torben Waldorff: guitar; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Matt Clohesy: bass; Jon Wikan: drums.

Record Label: Artist Share

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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