Corpo: Swing (2009)
Corpo, led by Mikael Godée, has been a working band since 1992: Swing is their fifth CD and showcases a strongly rhythmical and accessible set of the soprano saxophonist/flutist's compositions.
There are six tunes on the album and, as a whole, they display the influence of 1970s jazz and, at times, progressive rock. The band itself claims that African percussion is a strong influence, but on this album the Gothenburg-based quintet's sound seems driven more by South American percussive styles.
" Gemüse," a slow and stylish composition, opening with some beautifully languid piano from Lars-Erik Norrstöm and soprano from Godée: Percussionist Ebba Westerberg and drummer Chris Montgomery add some urgency to the piece before Godée retakes control as the tune ends. The percussion and bass interplay in the middle section of "414" is funky yet controlled, with hints of Weather Report in its makeup. "Mazurka" begins with some frenetic drumming from Montgomery before Norrström enters on keyboard, creating probably the most prog-influenced section of the CD. The track also features a short piece of vocalization from Godée, which tends to disrupt the atmosphere being created by the instrumental parts and would perhaps have been better left out. The closing track, "Ped-balladen," is probably the most laidback tune of the entire collection. The interplay between Godée's soprano and Norrström's piano is tranquil and tender, but the rhythm section seems to lack confidence, and at times the percussion intrudes on the atmosphere created by the lead instruments. Across the six tracks as a whole, however, the band displays more confidence and a high level of skill.
This is a live CD, recorded at the Nefertiti club in Gothenburg, Sweden, by Swedish Radio. The production quality is excellent, especially for a live recording, and gives a warmth and intimacy to the six tunes. The instruments can be readily differentiated, thanks to the clarity of the sound: Thomas Markusson's bass is especially clear during his solos on "Solokvist" and "Mazurka." However, although the decision to retain some of the between-song applause lends an authenticity to the recording, it also makes it clear that the audience, though enthusiastic, was sparse. On the evidence of the music on Swing, Corpo deserve larger audiences.
Track Listing: Solokvist; Mazurka; Gemüse; 414; Vi på Åsen; Ped-balladen.
Personnel: Mikael Godée: soprano saxophone, flute, vocal (2); Lars-Erik Norrström: piano, keyboards; Thomas Markusson: bass; Ebba Westerberg: percussion; Chris Montgomery: drums.