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by Gareth Thompson
The ancient Zen art of decluttering has found modern favour as a mindful practice. Letting go of things is, perhaps, a way of breaking with the past. In the years since its inception, the Nordic big band Fire! Orchestra has jettisoned about half its original cast. Now down to a mere fourteen members, the outfit has accordingly made its most spacious album yet. The core trio of musical director / saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer ...read more
by John Eyles
It can be notoriously difficult to keep large-scale improvising ensembles in check and prevent their music from spiralling into incoherence. At their best, when the balance between order and chaos is just right, they make thrilling listening and attract fans in abundance, just as jazz big bands once did. Classic examples include Carla Bley & Mike Mantler's Jazz Composers' Orchestra, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Keith Tippett's Centipede, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers' Orchestra. ...read more
by John Eyles
She Sleeps, She Sleeps is the fifth album release from Fire! (yes, that exclamation mark is an integral part of the name), the Swedish supergroup trio of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin. It sees the three return to duty as a trio following the distraction of recording and touring with the Fire! Orchestra, with its membership of about thirty. Away from the orchestra, past Fire! albums have seen the trio collaborating with other musicians such ...read more