Mikkel Ploug: Mikkel Ploug Group (2006)
The trailer to the title Mikkel Ploug Group is Featuring Mark Turner and the album is very much an intertwining of forces by Ploug and tenor saxophonist Turner. Rounding out the band are bassist Jeppe Skovbakke and drummer Sean Carpio who as the rhythm section, support Ploug's delicate structures with supple rhythms that are in constant flux.
Ploug has chosen a guitar sound that is clean with little distortion, but with an echo/delay on it. His lines, therefore, have an amorphous harmonic quality about them, even when he plays faster, due to the overlap. This effect is on top off the music's less than overt harmonic changes. The music ends up having a floating feel, which is further enhanced by the light drumming of Carpio which manages to provide a pulse that is subverted in many different ways without losing its feel.
Turner, for his part, stays mostly in the upper range of his tenor where it crosses with Ploug's guitar. Indeed, they play in unison on quite a few tracks, while at other times winding around each other. Whether or not Turner chose this timbre or it was worked out with Ploug, the combined sound defines the album and matches the way the tunes work.
While not having a sound as tough as Samo Salamon, being closer to Sebastian Noelle, Ploug's music has a definite logic to it. Its immediate impression is one of simplicity, but that is deceptive. There is much going on, and the music has a way of seducing the listener into being carried away, while always being totally under control.
Each track follows a developmental arc, many times driven by increasingly dense drumming, while at the same swirling in circles and thus seems to move while not moving. To these ears, this is a wonderful effect and each listen uncovers deeper layers.
Ploug is another very fine addition to FSNT, and most definitely someone to watch in whatever configuration he next appears. Recommended.
Track Listing: Four!; Big City Walk; Turners Odysseys; Breakfast Special; First Song; 21 Century Folk Song; Logicunlogic; The Vodka is on the Bottom; Play it to the Ground.
Personnel: Mikkel Ploug: guitar; Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Jeppe Skovbakke: bass; Sean Carpio: drums.
Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
Style: Modern Jazz