Lars Fiil Quartet: Reconsideration (2011)
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