Hailing from Canada, Sweden and Alaska, the five members of Nordic Connect share two constants: Scandinavian blood runs through their veins, as does an impetus to play music that is lighthearted and free, but has at its roots, a serenity where wisdom resides.
Co-led by sisters Ingrid (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Christine Jensen (alto and soprano saxophone), Flurry is Nordic Connect's debut album. Nine tracks on the disc, composed by the two Jensens, as well as pianist Maggi Olin, showcase a group that plays together in such a way that produces patterns of a sublime and sedate quality, beautiful in their simplicity.
Joined by Mattias Welin (bass) and Jon Wikan (drums), the group follows familiar patterns and cadences, creating harmonious rhythms on tracks like "Seafever, which pulsates with a generous sway, as piano, bass and drums set a relaxed mood.
The compositions are painterly. On "Sweet Adephi, shuddering cymbals sweep across horn melodies in great swaths; the piano and bass fill in the details, comping alongside their band mates or gently plugging in pieces of the theme.
"Things I Love opens with mystery. Olin sends intriguing muted sparks through the horn lines with her Fender Rhodes, while Wikan sprays shards of crystalline percussion tempered by rain-like sounds. Sultriness slips in soon as the tempo evens out and the Rhodes catches the tail of a horn line, propelling the sound into a funky realm. The whole gang hops on as Wikan takes the tune to groove land.
Magic makes its way into "Seascape. Only a minute-and-a-half long, it's filled with big percussive sounds like crashing waves that get carried off into the wind, speckled by tiny glittering chimes. The horns follow the tide.
You immediately get the sense that each player in this group cares a great deal for every note they play, every interaction they have with another instrument. Exchanges occur smoothly, like an embrace. Lovingly. The level of support is impressive. When one player steps out on their own, the others step aside graciously, but they never go far. They're always quite present. Flurry is almost maternal.
Track Listing: Flurry; Sweet Adelphi; Things I Love; Sweet Dream; Garden Hour; Seascape; Seafever; Cowboy; Breathe/Quadr'l.
Personnel: Ingrid Jensen: trumpet, flugelhorn; Christine Jensen: alto and soprano sax; Maggi Olin: piano, Fender Rhodes; Jon Wikan: drums, cajon, percussion; Mattias Welin: acoustic bass.