What's up with jny: Oslo, Norway? Two of the outstanding recordings by of 2014 have come out of the city: pianist Paul Bley's Play Blue (ECM Records), and now Los Angeles-based pianist Chris Dundas' Oslo Odyssey (BLM Records). Dundas' profile isn't exactly soaring through the stars. He has one previous recording as a leader to his name, a very good mainstream affair from the year 2000, featuring saxophonist Bob Sheppard. What Oslo Odyssey represents for Dundas is something of a (bluesman) Robert Johnson moment--he slips off the recording radar for a long spell, then comes back with a ...read more
The debut of Arild Andersen's now longstanding trio with Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith and Italian expat drummer Paolo Vinaccia on Live at Belleville (ECM, 2008) came as no small surprise, even to those familiar with the Norwegian bassist's work on the label--dating right back to its inception on Jan Garbarek's classic Afric Pepperbird (ECM, 1971), as well as with his own fine triptych of more accessible early albums, recently collected on Green Into Blue--Early Quartets (ECM, 2010). Andersen has proven, over a career now spanning six decades, to be a bassist with a muscular tone and broad stylistic ...read more
Arild Andersen Celebration ECM Records 2012 With all the activities surrounding the 40th anniversary of ECM Records in 2009--from a three-day festival-within-a-festival at that year's Enjoy Jazz Festival in Mannheim, Germany, and the budget-priced Touchstone Series reissue of forty essential ECM titles, to the publication of an all-German book of commissioned writing, Die Blaue Klang (Wolke Verlag, 2010), and the follow-up to 1996's much coveted and out-of-print Sleeves of Desire: A Cover Story (Lars Müller Publishers, 1996)--it is, perhaps, something of a surprise that there weren't any more specifically musical celebrations of a label that, ...read more
More than forty years ago, Norwegian bassist, Arild Andersen joined saxophonist Jan Garbarek and the late Finnish drummer Edward Vesala to record the groundbreaking Triptykon (ECM 1972), one of these musicians' most energized work. It's a happy coincidence that the new millennium has seen both Garbarek and Andersen--ECM artists, both--create what may be their individual masterpieces--Live at Belleville, in the bassist's case. Andersen's intervening ECM years have generated an impressive catalog of high quality work including Molde Concert (1982), Sagn (1991) and Hyperborean (1997), but these have been more introspective efforts. As much as Live at Belleville is an accomplishment ...read more
Arild Andersen Green In Blue: Early Quartets ECM Records 2010 He's one of Norway's Big Four"--a group of artists who, with the assistance of the emerging ECM label in the early 1970s, kick-started international focus on the music from a country that, despite its relatively small population, has become a truly vital force in the evolution of jazz over the past 40 years. Alongside saxophonist Jan Garbarek, guitarist Terje Rypdal and drummer Jon Christensen--as well as Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson--bassist Arild Andersen has been responsible for a real paradigm shift, one ...read more
The general international perception of Norway's jazz scene as Nordic Cool," is, like most generalizations, inevitably distanced from truth. Atomic, The Core and Motif may possess no shortage of heat, but ECM has undeniably helped define that unmistakable Norwegian aesthetic. One of the big four," brought to international attention in the early 1970s alongside guitarist Terje Rypdal, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, and drummer Jon Christensen, bassist Arild Andersen's ECM releases have largely avoided the kind of burning improvisational energy of his powerful trio disc Triptykon (1973), with Garbarek and Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. Live at Belleville--Andersen's first live album for ECM ...read more
It's not uncommon to find bassists and drummers who work together so well that they become almost inseparable; often hired together because of their distinctive simpatico. It's rarer to find full groups with their own signature, expanding their vernacular by recruiting others for alternate ideas. Trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, bassist Arild Andersen and percussionist Patrice Heral have been working together since 1998 but, despite a singular aesthetic, it's their guest collaborators who have helped build a small but diverse body of work; each project blending recognizable elements and fresh perspectives.
Electric Treasures is the first time they've ...read more
Høstsløv (Autumn Slow) is the third seasonal offering by the Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen and two of his fellow countrymen, guitarist Frode Alnæs and accordionist Stian Carstensen, after covering traditional Norwegian summer songs on Sommerbrisen (Summer Breeze) (KKV, 1998) and old and new Christmas carols on Julegløggen (KKV, 2003). Høstsløv is another collection of familiar songs, played in a joyful and relaxed manner with loads of grace and charm.
Andersen and Alnæs have been collaborating for more than twenty years, as members of the Masqualero quintet and later on Sagn (ECM, 1990), Andersen's first foray into covering ...read more
With the exception of saxophonist Jan Garbarek, fellow Norwegian Arild Andersen--who has a considerably smaller discography as a leader--has created some of the ECM label's most stylistically diverse music since the early 1970s. From exploring the nexus of traditional folk music and improvisation on Sagn to the fusion-centric Molde Concert, the spontaneous composition of Karta and the Nordic Cool-meets-string quartet of Hyperborean, Andersen has explored a host of different angles from which to approach his personal jazz-centricity. And by combining a deeply resonant pizzicato bass approach--owing as much to electric bassist Jaco Pastorius as to the more usual suspects--with the ...read more
A musical innovator's sound is unmistakable. For example, listen to any thick slap by Mingus and you know it's him. From the opening moments of Triplicity, there is no question that the trombone is Albert Mangelsdorff's. Mangelsdorff, Germany's most famous musician, participated in many performances under the auspices of the NordDeutscher Rundfunk (German Radio) either as part of its big band or at its many workshops, opportunities for European musicians and Americans either traveling or living abroad to come together in exciting one-off combinations. All of these sessions were recorded and broadcast in excellent quality.Triplicity is ...read more
For a player with a background in classical music, pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos has done wonders in the realm of jazz, and specifically improvisation. He still plays with a precise, sensitive touch and measures out dissonance in carefully metered pinches, but the tidal ebb and flow that characterizes this trio recording stands as remarkable evidence that he's made the transition completely and elegantly.
Triangle is so named more for the shared space than any sort of angular edges to the music. It's most certainly rounded instead of cornered, pedaled instead of punched, introverted instead of extroverted. The other triangle ...read more
What a difference four years and touring time can make. The Triangle, the follow-up to 2000's sublime trio recording Achirana , shows a group that has grown in leaps and bounds, becoming something more, something larger.
Clearly Vassillis Tsaboropoulos, an established classical pianist whose first recording of improvised music was Achirana, has evolved. While the thrust of the trio remains in chamber jazz, his playing is more extroverted. Straight" and the 5/4 piece Saturday" demonstrate a new-found brightness, and expressionist approach; a far cry from his earlier, more inward-looking work. And bassist Arild Andersen and drummer John Marshall seem perfectly ...read more
Arild Andersen’s career as a bassist of high regard without much public notoriety, particularly in North America, is explored on this latest ECM reissue. Like the rest of the Rarum series, the label turns the reins over to the artist in choosing from their various ECM sides and has the subject artist write the liner notes—Andersen’s reissue is no exception, and it helps make an excellent package. The collection features both Andersen’s work with his own ensemble, which feature some key players of modern jazz, like Jon Christensen and Paul Motian, and his duet work with guitarist ...read more
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