Kornstad: Dwell Time (2009)
This broad emotional vocabulary is to the fore once again on Dwell Time, Kornstad's first solo album; there are more blue notes and smears, for instance, than you'll find on all of Garbarek's post-Officium (ECM, 1993) albums rolled together (which isn't to put down Garbarek's music, simply to make a distinction). Dwell Time follows the almost-solo album Single Engine (Jazzland Recordings, 2007), on which Kornstad enlisted a little help from his friends, including Wesseltoft. It was recorded over two nights at Oslo's acoustically-blessed Sofienberg Church in January 2009. Kornstad plays tenor and bass saxophones, flute and flutonette (a cross between a clarinet and a flute), and also weaves live loops and electronic effects into spare but telling accompaniments. There has been, he writes in the liner notes, no overdubbing or "serious" editing.
songbook; the connection might even be conscious, for in structure and mood the tracks mirrors, in condensed form, the opening, sunrise-like "Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt" on Sanders' iconic Tauhid (Impulse!, 1967).
The music is of rare and bewitching beauty; at times elusive and delicate, at others forthright. Kornstad's affinity with funk and groove illuminates three tracks: the tenor saxophone features "Oslo" and "En Attendant Le Soleil," and the bass saxophone feature "Klaff." On "Oslo," Kornstad is accompanied by a percussive, electric "guitar"-like ostinato and a second loop of upper register harmonics. On "Klaff," the bass saxophone, an instrument with more overtones than a Jane Austen novel, well captured by the recording location, Kornstad creates another beat-centric ostinato by blown upper register harmonics and by tapping the horn's drum-like keypads against its ample body. On "En Attendant Le Soleil," after a teasing, five minute introduction, he plays two glorious minutes strewn with mid-register split tones straight out of the Pharoah Sanders
Elsewhere, the album is gentler, and at times more elliptical, but even here Kornstad isn't shy of adding blue notes or funky rhythmic emphases. His ballads and meditations are pretty and tuneful, but never bland or anaemic, and from whichever direction it is approached, Dwell Time makes for compelling listening.
A perfect little masterpiece.
Track Listing: Still One; Oslo; Mongrel; Noir; En Attendant Le Soleil; Klaff; Wipeout; Streamer.
Personnel: Håkon Kornstad: tenor and bass saxophones, flute, flutonette, live electronics.
Record Label: Jazzland Recordings
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde