Home » Jazz Articles » Rubber Soul Quartet: Blackbird

Album Review

Rubber Soul Quartet: Blackbird


Sign in to view read count
Rubber Soul Quartet: Blackbird
It's doubtless impossible for anyone to avoid some degree of cliché when tackling the Beatles yet again. Of course there have been covers beyond count, and even adapting the band's songs to other genres (jazz not least among them) is well-trodden ground. Still, this quartet does a solidly enjoyable job in going for playfulness more than pastiche. The success of any such tribute also depends on the sincerity of the performance, and on that count they deliver perfectly. The group's clear love of these "English standards" is the main key to Blackbird's understated charm.

If over-familiar material turns out to be an album's biggest hurdle, that isn't really so bad as hurdles go. The quartet's line-up of guitar, saxophone, double bass and drums does a lot to adjust the music's flavor to that of a bebop session, as does the wise decision to keep it mostly instrumental, apart from a couple of admirably straight-faced vocal spots. Rubber Soul Quartet finds its own fitting angle on each piece in this context. The arrangements are well-chosen to respect each song's central qualities: quiet beauty for "Blackbird," toe-tapping 1930s dancehall for the brisk "Honey Pie," and simple and humble warmth to make "Here Comes the Sun" a particularly beautiful highlight.

The other more successful moments come when the quartet roams a little further afield. "Yellow Submarine" sheds the original's cartoon silliness for a quick round of jitterbugging, while "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" romps almost as intricately to bring things to a close. When things are more straightforward, it's still a breezy time; these treatments come out merely pleasant at worst, happily cooking at best. True to the band's name, there is always plenty of bounce and soul throughout.

Track Listing

I Feel Fine; She's Leaving Home; Yellow Submarine; Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown); Here Comes the Sun; Drive My Car; I'll Follow the Sun; Honey Pie; Blackbird; Lady Madonna; Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.


Rubber Soul Quartet: band/orchestra; Bård Helgerud: guitar; Håvard Fossum: saxophone; Andreas Dreier: bass, acoustic; Torstein Ellingsen: drums.

Album information

Title: Blackbird | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Losen Records

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



New Oxford Brevity
Dominic Lash / Pat Thomas
Dedicated To You
Joe Coughlin
Times Like These
Nica Carrington
Blue Note Re:imagined II
Various Artists


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.