Whatever the reason may be, the influence of country music is rarely heard among modern jazz guitarists. Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny are among the relatively few that have explored the legacy of bluegrass and country and transformed it into a singular musical expression. Keeping this is in mind, it is all the more surprising to find Danish guitarist Per Lyhne Løkkegaard cultivating a country-inspired sound that supposedly could only thrive in the heartland of America. Filtering jazz, blues, country and rock through a decidedly postmodern sensibility, Løkkegaards group, Petrus Kapell, manages to create its very own sound world where old and new styles meet.
A Call For Silence, the group's debut, opens with "Why Can't We Talk," a dynamic composition that sees Løkkegaard's steel guitar in tandem with breezy trumpet lines, glockenspiel, propulsive drumming and a rollicking piano, creating an ambiance somewhere between a modern rock groove and a back-porch blues.
The title track, a jazzy country 'n' western ballad, is adorned by Rasmus Lund's shuffling drums, a guitar moaning with twang and raindrops of glockenspiel. Throughout, bassist Jesper Thorna genuine talent on the Danish scenenavigates safely through the melodies and gives the otherwise melancholy compositions a sweet, bouncing tone.
Most of the album calls for a meditative mood, but "Rusty Frosty"the sole exception from the album's overall hushed aestheticscratches and screeches, making use of heavily distorted guitar, complemented by the rest of the group's earthy groove.
"Calm Your Mind" is an apt description of the music, with lingering tones of Rhodes wrapped around slowly unfolding guitar lines. In its own quiet way, Call For Silence pays homage to the American music to which it owes its existence, yet the group goes further than pure pastiche and succeeds in making a bold musical statement that reaches beyond geographical boundaries.
Track Listing: Why Can't We Talk; Mr. Barenberg; A Call For Silence; Here For Now; Rusty Frosty; Calm Your Mind; Sadness In Your Eyes; Little Hurricane.
Personnel: Per Lyhne Løkkegaard: guitar; Anders Filipsen: keys; Jesper Thorn: bass; Gustav Rasmussen: trombone; Tobias Wiklund: trumpet; Hans Hvidbjerg Hansen: electronics.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.