Moksha: Moksha (2004)
On Moksha this Swedish foursome successfully mines the free side of the piano-less quartet sound explored by Gerry Mulligan in the mainstream, and Ornette Coleman on the freer end of things, though I don't know if the word "free" actually describes Moksha's sound. A great deal of unison between the saxophone and trumpet, along with some solid melodies, indicates a good deal of structure to the tunes, and the opener, "Svettparlor" has a very measured tone to it, suggestive of Miles Davis's early '60s just-pre-electric album, Nefertiti.
Bassist Mattias Welin holds the sound together with a solid and oftimes driving approach, while drummer Sebastian Voegler works more in a free flung textural mode. Saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist blows with burnished tones, but cuts loose on "Surfaren"—a driving melody working off a five note bass riff that allows the horns to fly free, trumpeter Magnus Broo sounding strung tight, anguished on his solo that leads into Almqvist's pained but still somewhat contained roarings; and the rhythm team holds steady, churning along like a downbound train. "Aspudden" lightens the mood—a thougtful and deliberate melody featuring a lovely and introspective trumpet solo by Broo; then the propulsive side churns in again on "El Gato De El Paso."
Moksha has crafted an engagingly cohesive sound, though the pace of the set lags just a tad—it could have used one more barn burner like "Surfaren." These guys really cut loose on the up-tempo, with Welin's bass keeping things from flying off too freely.
A fine set of sounds out of Sweden.
Visit Moksha on the web at www.moserobie.com .
Track Listing: Svetparlor, Surfaren, Aspudden, El Gato De El Paso, En Vardag, Triple, Den Kosmiska Dansen, Prayer
Personnel: Mattias Welin--bass; Karl-Martin Almqvist--saxophone; Magnus Broo--trumpet; Sebastian Voegler--drums