Richard Andersson: UDU (2012)
The word "udu," which is the title of Danish bassist Richard Andersson's second release as a leader, has several connotations. Its primary meaning in Danish is something that is broken. A chair can be in "udu," which means it doesn't work and needs to be repaired. However, the sound of "udu" also closely resembles the pronunciation of the word "voodoo," something magical and mysterious.
As it turns out, the word, with its different shades of meaning, is an apt description of the music that is both magical and broken. Far removed from slick sounds played in suit, Andersson's group liberates a tribal expression of original music that is both daring and melodic.
All the music is written by the bassist and as a composer he walks the tight line between chaos and creativity and recognizable forms. The opener, "This not an elevator," whose title is a humorous nod to René Magritte's painting This is not a pipe, is a joyful, oriental tune where saxophonist Jesper Zeuthen sings the theme like a dancing snake charmer.
Zeuthen, who is probably Danmark's greatest living saxophonist, has a tone that is quite unlike any other horn player. He's free, but not fiery and even while he is most intense, as in the quiet explosions on "Orkanens Øje" ("Eye of the Storm"), he maintains an elastic elegance in the middle of the heat.
Trumpeter Kasper Tranberg is the perfect partner for Zeuthen, with his burning tone, and drummer Peter Bruun is a regular powerhouse whose polyrhythmic ideas add punch to Andersson's sophisticatedly understated grooves.
Together, these four musicians create a unique brand of folkloristic jazz surrealism where seemingly simple motifs are explored and twisted and turned into cosmic fanfares that would please legendary saxophonist and composer Albert Ayler. As the group destroys the familiar forms, new magic shapes arise in a new language of "udu."
Track Listing: This Is Not an Elevator; Blåskimmel Skrammel; Nærvær; Orkanens øje; Er dine kartofler nye og friske?; Please Recycle; Femårsplanen; Au Dau Fau; Fest i elverhøj.
Personnel: Richard Andersson: bass; Jesper Zeuthen: saxophone; Kasper Tranberg: trumpet; Peter Bruun: drums.
Record Label: Blackout Music