Jostein Gulbrandsen: Twelve (2007)
The title cut is a forum for Gulbrandsen and Irabagon to highlight their facility with angularity as quick staccato runs and intriguing chords predominate, backed by a speedy rhythm. Opsvik slows things down by elegantly morphing the rhythm into an understated plucked lead before all return to the head. Irabagon's tenor is on the reedy side and there are moments, such as on the bluesy "MB" and opener "Sunshine," that this is used much to the music's advantage. The subtleties and delicate nature of Gulbrandsen's guitar are not lost through an overpowering tenor but instead are highlighted.
Although the hard bopping is perhaps initially most obvious, the more sophisticated arrangements and choice ensemble playing should not be overlooked. Tunes like the achingly beautiful "Northern Lights," "Watertrain," with a superb arco/guitar/clarinet voicing, the downright gorgeous bass/acoustic guitar duet "Black November" and Gulbrandsen's fascinating arrangement of Sting's "Message In A Bottle" portend very well for the guitarist to continue to develop his unique voice.
Track Listing: Sundance; MB; Northern Lights; Twelve; Watertrain; Message in a Bottle; The Ring; Black November.
Personnel: Jostein Gulbrandsen: guitar; Jon Irabagon: tenor sax, clarinet; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Jeff Davis: drums.
Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent
Style: Modern Jazz