Anders Nilsson / Joe Fonda / Peter Nilsson: Powers (2013)
This collective trio teams American bass master Joe Fonda, known for his collaborations with innovative musicians and composers such as saxophonist Anthony Braxton, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and pianist Carla Bley, with Swedish brothers a generation younger than Fonda guitarist Anders Nilsson, based in New York since 2000, and drummer Peter Nilsson, based in Malmö, Sweden. The Nilsson brothers have been playing together since they were kids and recently collaborated in Anders Nilsson's Anders Nilsson´s AORTA (Kopasetic, 2009). Both lead their own outfits and collaborate with musicians from both sides of the Atlantic.
Fonda was the bassist in Anders Nilsson first session in New York and their musical bond initiated immediately. And, indeed, this trio's debut is gifted with emphatic, tight interplay, has a focused, expansive sound often larger than that of a trio's, a varied vocabulary, a penchant for biting melodies, and grooves that are rooted in the rich blues legacy.
Anders Nilsson's compositions and playing emphasize his wide range of approaches. His musculareven bombasticguitar playing erupts on "Powers" and enjoys the propulsive, rock steady, support from Fonda and Peter Nilsson. "Tri- Cep" blossoms slowly, through a set of changing moods, rhythms and playful interplay until it culminates in a heroic guitar solo. His guitar playing owes much to the influential work of Scandinavian guitarists as Terje Rypdal, and Raoul Björkenheim, with whom Nilsson recorded Kalabalik (DMG ARC, 2012). His "Vodka Meditations" wanders through gentle, bluesy textures, challenged briefly by Fonda's arco punctuation .
Fonda's compositions tend to be open-ended. "China" is a fragile, minimalist ballad that leaves enough room for all three to color it with distinct shades. "I've Been Singing" follows an open, swinging, rhythm and blues groove, led masterfully by Fonda with his deep, massive bass sound. "Fish Soup" reunites the trio over an electrifying, tight groove that later disintegrates into arresting sonic experiments. Peter Nilsson's only composition, "Melodrone," has an infectious rhythmic feel that enables Anders Nilsson to cook slowly a soulful solo over the solid pulse.
This trio has only begun to discover its potential as a working trio. There is more to expect from such gifted musicians.
Track Listing: Powers; Tri-Cep; China; Melodrone; I've Been Singing; vodka Meditations; Fish Soup.
Personnel: Anders Nilsson: guitar; Joe Fonda: acoustic bass; Peter Nilsson: drums.
Record Label: Konnex Records