Jacob Anderskov: Newspeak; Ears to the Ground; Panta Rhei
Jacob Anderskov/Airto Moreira
With over a dozen CDs as leader since his 2001 debut, Danish pianist Jacob Anderskov is a celebrated name in his home country. But he is patiently working his waymuch like the form his music takesinto widespread jazz consciousness, particularly here in the States. Amorphous, introspectivealmost meditativepieces slowly blossom into respective wholes and in whatever context he's heard, two things remain constant: fluidity and originality.
One of the pianist's primary musical outlets is his Anderskov Accident group. Their latest, Newspeak, is an octetthree reeds (alto, tenor, bass clarinet), two brass (trumpet, trombone), piano, bass and drums that work as one, though are also strong individualists; tenor saxophonist Ned Ferm and trombonist Peter Dahlgren ("Russku"), trumpeter Kasper Tranberg ( "Boxy") and bass clarinetist Anders Banke ("Salene") all shine. Gorgeous Gil Evans-esque trombone-based brass contrasted by floating reed harmonies are paced by bass and drum-led march figures ("Lisbutin E Mirkola," "Se Nu Stiger Solen" and "Salene"). Six of the seven compositions are Anderskov's, as much an integral part of the whole as anyone, his subtle piano rarely stepping to the forefront (except perhaps on "Salene" and "Boxy"). This is most definitely a band record and that's no accident.
For Anderskov's creativity as improvising pianist versus bandleader/composer, there's Ears to the Ground with multi-percussionist Airto Moreira. Airto serves as Anderskov's prepared piano in essence, contributing complementary and conversational effectsambient sounds from rustling percussion of all shapes, sizes and origins. On kit with cymbals, he plays as duo partner, keeping time to Anderskov's flowing lines and adding wordless climaxing chants that elevate the pianist to his most staccato-oriented, Chick Corea-influenced playing.
Panta Rhei (in Greek"everything is flux") is Anderskov's first solo piano CD. The improvised pieces are convincing compositions in themselves; without the use of editing or overdubbing, Anderskov proves a natural storyteller. He utilizes the piano's strings ("Fractio") to achieve various colors and textures between his divergent hands. His flowing control is impressionistic, balladic themes slowly developing with raindrop-like single notes, progressively becoming more random, almost carefree and celebratory ("Extractio: Skumring"). He can also bring in a storm of rapid treble note progressions with dramatic bass punctuations, as if thunder has joined lightning ("Contractio: Gyorgy Ligeti in memoriam"). Anderskov's solo performance at Scandinavia House (Jun. 18th) revealed an interesting correlation between what he played and this release. He remarked in closing: "I didn't play it [the CD's music], but I touched it." He then took a bow and stepped back out of the spotlight, as if to allow the piano, too, to be congratulated. It was as if he realized the book played as important a role as its reader.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: The Fourth K; Lisbutin e Mirkola; Se nu stiger solen; Russkij; Boxy; Salene; Crumpy.
Personnel: Kasper Tranberg: trumpet; Jesper Zeuthen: alto sax; Ned Ferm: tenor sax; Anders Banke: bass clarinet; Peter Dahlgren: trombone; Jacob Anderskov: piano; Jeppe Skovbakke: bass; Rune Kielsgaard: drums.
Ears to the Ground
Tracks: In the air; Ears to the ground; Anytime; We are ready; Out of hand.
Personnel: Jacob Anderskov: piano; Airto Moreira: percussion, drums, vocals
Tracks: Fractio; Panta Rhei; Extractio: skumring; Contractio: György Ligeti in memoriam; Reactio: Eisenach-Djoliba; Contradictio: Danbury-Paide; Subtractio.
Personnel: Jacob Anderskov: piano.