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Ambient Jazz: Pauseland & Jakob Sørensen

Jakob Baekgaard By

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In a world that is fast-paced and in constant movement, contemplation has become an increasingly important value. However, it is a value that it is sometimes hard to achieve. A possibility is to listen to music that invites it. The albums from Danish jazz group Pauseland and trumpeter Jakob Sørensen both offer room for introspection and meditative beauty.

Pauseland
At the End of the Day
Pauseland Music
2015

The drummer-less group Pauseland was formed in 2005 and consists of some of the strongest profiles on the Danish jazz scene, who are all prominent leaders in their own right. Saxophonist Christian Vuust released his superb Urban Hymn in 2014, guitarist Soren Dahl Jeppesen has perfected his melodic sound on a string of noteworthy albums with Icelandic saxophonist Óskar Gudjónsson and trumpeter Jakob Buchanan has continued to widen his sound palette with the poetic Some People and Some Places (2014). Add the in-demand bassist Klaus Nørgaard to the mix and you have a special combination of strong musical minds.

The album At the End of the Day is bookended by the title melody that immediately shows the group's ability to surrender to a unified expression with the ethereal guitar of Dahl Jeppesen, the breezy brass lines of Buchanan and Vuust and Klaus Nørgaard's bass that provides a steady pulse for a Nordic bossa nova.

The compositions are elegant and light with understated melodies that blossom into full flower. The simply titled "Folk Song" is an example of a theme that Italian composer Ennio Morricone would have been proud to include in one of his movies.

At the End of the Day is an album that allows silence to unfold into poetic vignettes that become part of a greater whole. It is music that invites deep listening.

Jakob Sørensen
Bagland
Jaeger Community
2015

In the notes for his album Bagland, young trumpeter Jakob Sørensen thanks Jakob Buchanan and in many ways the two are kindred spirits. Sørensen has the same ability as Buchanen to shape warm, fluent lines that seem to evolve organically out of the air.

Sørensen is in good company. At the moment, many exciting things are happening in Aarhus, the city Sørensen comes from, and he is able to draw from a talented pool of players, one of the most significant being Alex Jonsson, a player who is aesthetically related to fellow instrumentalists like Søren Dahl Jeppesen and Jakob Bro.

The cover of the album shows a beautiful photograph by landscape photographer Kirsten Klein and points the album in an aesthetic direction pioneered by the German label ECM. Sørensen does not try to hide that he is inspired by the Nordic sound, but, fortunately, he avoids the clichés of the genre. Instead, he writes complex compositions where his Chet Baker-like mellowness is wrapped in musical narratives that are both simple and sophisticated. For instance, the epic "Forandringens Fortvivlelse" ("The Despair of Change") begins with Mathias Jæger's subtle, melancholy piano figures. When Sørensen enters with his clear, pure tone, it is like sunshine that breaks through the mist. The mood changes and a groove slowly emerges and later bassist Frederik Sakham delivers a convincing solo. It all ends with the percussive sound of wind chimes whispering in the air.

Bagland is a strong debut from a composer and trumpeter who has already found his own sound and knows what he wants. In the presence of the talented company of his band, he is able to realize his vision of modern Nordic ambient jazz.

Tracks and Personnel

At the End of the Day

Tracks: At the End of the Day; Sønderho; Folk Song; Icu; Waltz; Viby J; Dead Ringer; I Fly; Awake; At the End of the Day (Part II)

Personnel: Jakob Buchanan: flugelhorn; Christian Vuust: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Søren Dahl Jeppesen: guitar; Klaus Nørgaard: bass.

Bagland

Tracks: Vindeltrappen; Pelsfrakker; Op Ned Henover; Forandringens Fortvivlelse; Bagland; Marehalmens Flugt; Something Pretty; Flyver Væk i Evig Sol.

Personnel: Jakob Søresen: trumpet; Alex Jönsson: guitar; Mathias Jæger: piano; Frederik Sakham: bass; Frej Lesner: drums; Nellie Parsager Jensen: clarinet (#7); Sofie Kirk Østergaard: clarinet (#7).
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