Lars Fiil Quartet: Reconsideration (2011)
Hailing from Aarhus, Lars Fiil is one of the latest discoveries on the Danish jazz scene. The young Danish pianist's quartet won the prestigious Young Jazz Comets Denmark in 2010, and is now ready to launch its debut, Reconsideration.
The album, consisting entirely of compositions penned by the leader, shows a band whose understanding of the complexities of musical form belies its young age. While each of the members is certainly a highly skilled musician, instrumental prowess isn't really the issue here. It's about unfolding the melodic beauty of Fiil's compositions, creating a mood and a sense of dynamics that ties the work together as a whole.
The title track finds alto saxophonist Lis Kruse digging deep into an introspective melody, where a fragile web of bass and drums is spun around Fiil's impressionistic chords. "Let Go" is another soulful ballad, its yearning tone supported by the dark shades of the piano and a narrative solo by bassist Jens Mikkel Madsen.
While Fiil is in a league of his own when it comes to writing ballads with a touch of Nordic melancholy, he is almost as inventive in his exploration of the post-bop, with "Xenophobiaphobia" and "The Opener" throwing several rhythmic curveballs while keeping a solid groove. "Ghost Town," on the other hand, plays upon the aesthetic of silence laid out by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Here, the pianist's soft, bell-like touch whispers like wind chimes, while Madsen plays an open patchwork of notes over which Kruse's lines are allowed to flourish.
Changing effortlessly between well-tempered grooves and ethereal ballads, Reconsideration shows a group that found its own sound from the beginning. This is quite a merit in itself, but most of all, there's no distinct line between playing "inside" or "outside." Instead, the compositions are fleshed out organically like pearls on string, creating a strong, coherent effort where the music speaks for itself.
Track Listing: Reconsideration; The Opener; Wholetonetonehole; After...; Let Go; Xenophobiaphobia; Ghost Town; Overload; Lost or Found?
Personnel: Lars Fiil: piano; Lis Kruse: alto saxophone; Jens Mikkel Madsen: bass; Andreas Skamby: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz