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Kathrine Windfeld Big Band: Black Swan

Chris Mosey By

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Do opposites really attract? Danish big band leader Kathrine Windfeld's compositions are meticulously worked out in advance, whereas saxophonist Thomas Agergaard, her collaborator on this gig, takes a different, more spontaneous approach.

"Thomas writes quite differently than I do," says Windfeld. "He thrives on the energy of the moment. This is beneficial to the music, but it is also a challenge when we are so many together and have to make something work within a limited time frame."

Some of the numbers on this album are reworkings of old compositions but others were put together in the studio just before the recording was made. The gentle, meditative ballad "Airborne Lotus"—the most interesting song in the collection—is an example of the latter approach. Agergaard's tenor states the theme over Windfeld's subdued piano accompaniment. "Dream Society," which follows, features Agergaard on alto flute and is darker and more intricate. It's part of a suite that includes three more songs, the most interesting of which is perhaps the brooding "For Nick."

It's all a bit hit and miss. There are some interesting bits and pieces but the suite and the CD in general, lacks overall musical coherence.

The first suite is followed by a second which culminates in "Why Why Why," an existential cry of pain the listener may well feel like echoing.

After the session Windfeld said, "It's been exciting for the band and not least of all for myself, to have a different kind of repertoire." The impression was that she'd nonetheless be glad to return to more familiar—if less exciting—modus operandi in future.

When opposites attract, perhaps it's only for a limited amount of time.

Track Listing: Black Swan; Human Be Legends; Different Corner; Hast; Airborne Lotus; Op-Us 1 Suite – Dream Society; History Talks; Fixing Room; For Nick; Op-Us 2 Suite – Storm P; Testing Song Call; Why Why Why.

Personnel: Kathrine Windfeld: piano; Gøran Abelli, Mikkel Aagaard, Anders Larson: trombone; Magnus Oseth, Andre Bak, Rolf Thofte Sørensen: trumpet; Thomas Agergaard, Jakub Wiecek, Roald Elm Larsen, Ida Karlsson, Toke Reines: saxophone; Viktor Sandstrøm: guitar; Johannes Vaht: bass; Henrik Holst Hansen: drums.

Title: Black Swan | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Storyville Records

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