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Ketil Bjornstad: Remembrance (2010)

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Ketil Bjornstad: Remembrance How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The disc is called Remembrance, but it could just as well have been tagged "Prayers" or "Hymns," or "The Search for Peace and Tranquility," words that seems a fit with the music of Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad.

Bjørnstad began his sojourn at ECM Records with Water Stories in 1993. In his eight recordings for the label since then, he has played often with string men, including cellist David Darling and guitarist Terje Rypdal
Terje Rypdal
Terje Rypdal
b.1947
guitar
, but this time out he enlists fellow Norwegian, saxophonist Tore Brunborg
Tore Brunborg
Tore Brunborg
b.1960
saxophone
. Drummer Jon Christensen
Jon Christensen
Jon Christensen
b.1943
drums
, who has a near-forty year musical relationship with Bjørnstad—rounds out the trio.

For those wondering what the famed ECM Records esthetic sounds like, this is it: cool, spacious, unhurried, unfailingly lovely, and often quite solemn; like something that would sound good in a house of worship, under shimmer and flash of the luminescent pastels of the Northern Lights.

Melodies sound like lullabies, with Brunborg's tenor sax blowing round and hollow notes, while Bjørnstad dabbles in bright colors in the background, and Christensen percusses with a wonderful off-kilter unpredictability that no one, with the exception of Paul Motian

Paul Motian
Paul Motian
1931 - 2011
drums
, can match.

Indeed, a comparison can be made between Remembrance and Motian's own Lost in a Dream (ECM Records, 2010). Both discs sport the same instrumentation, with Motian employing two fellow Americans; saxophonist Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
and pianist Jason Moran
Jason Moran
Jason Moran
b.1975
piano
. Both discs explore exceptional and intricate vistas, but Bjørnstad and his Scandinavian compatriots delve into more diaphanous landscapes, where things aren't quite so well-defined.

The individual tunes are tagged simply with the Roman numerals I through XI. They have a suite-like continuity and a rich and reverent gorgeousness, on this outstanding set by the Norwegian pianist and his trio mates.

Track Listing: Remembrance I; Remembrance II; Remembrance III; Remembrance IV; Remembrance V; Remembrance VI; Remembrance VII; Remembrance VIII; Remembrance IX; Remembrance X; Remembrance XI.

Personnel: Ketil Bjørnstad: piano; Tore Brunborg: tenor saxophone; Jon Christensen: drums.

Record Label: ECM Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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