Norwegian keyboard player Daniel Formo continues to explore and expand the sonic qualities of the old, trusty Hammond B3 organ, and to emancipate this instrument from its traditional role in a jazz setting. Formo began this journey with the impressive Hammond Dialogues (Particular Recordings, 2013), on which he explored the role of the organ as a solo instrument and through improvised musical dialogues with a church organ and string trio.
Formo Tre & Metall (Formo Wood & Metal in Norwegian) is a Norwegian-Swedish quartet with a unique instrumentation. Formo is joined by Swedish vibe player Mattias Ståhl, prolific Norwegian woodwind player Eirik Hegdal, and Norway-based Swedish drummer Erik Nylander, who avoids playing the cymbals on this quartet debut. All members of this quartet are leaders and composers in their own right.
With this ensemble Formo attempts to outline a new sound for a jazz outfit that includes the Hammond B3. A sound that focuses on the organic characteristics of the wooden and metallic instruments, a sound that can be primal and industrial, yet rhythmic and free. The excellent musical partners and the unique choices of instruments allow Formo to suggest surprising new sonic possibilities.
The nine compositions are structures as continuous parts in a long suite, recorded live at Dokkhuset club in Trondheim and in the studio. The organ, vibes and clarinet/sax sounds blend beautifully on the cinematic "In the Woods" and the restless "Conversation of woods." "Idle" gently explores an infectious, industrial beat, sketched subtly on the organ, and in more energetic manner on ironic "Politisk Jazz," where the organ, bass clarinet, vibes and the drums stress the rhythmic theme. On "Kaleidofon" the quartet reaches a telepathic interplay. Hegdal's clarinet offers weird dance moves with Nylander's wood chops, Formo's organ expands this rhythmic movement and Ståhl's vibes add a softer, dreamy touch to this nuanced interaction. "Kling Klang" is the only composition reminiscent of the conventional role of the organ as an instrument that sets a rhythmic groove, but here the rhythmic conception is expanded and exchanged back and forth with the vibes and drums, propelled with a charismatic sax solo of Hegdal.
Formo Tre & Metall is an excellent quartet with a bold vision.
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