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Pia Boda: Chasing Pixies

Eyal Hareuveni By

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The debut solo album of Los Angeles-Born, Danish saxophonist and educator Pia Boda is an evocative attempt to relive old Viking stories about elves and fairies. The symbolic images about a living nature, the chase of the invisible elves and fairies who were supposed to hover in the air, and we can only sense "contours of creatures moving to somewhere," motivated Boda to create her own personal musical universe.

Chasing Pixies, features Boda's Copenhagen-based quartet which formed a few years back. The quartet is an international unit—Tokyo-born pianist Makiko Hirabayashi, a leader of her own Nordic trio and member of percussionist Marilyn Mazur trio, Swedish double bassist Erik Olevik and native Danish drummer Andreas Fryland, who replaced original percussionist Lisbeth Diers. This quartet charges the typically Nordic-sounding, lyrical and melodic images of Boda with edgy yet emphatic, improvised interplay.

Boda knows how to compose a cycle of arresting, story-like narratives, and even titled one of of the most beautiful pieces, "Storyteller." She and Hirabayashi, are the obvious narrators, and both enjoy an emphatic, conversational interplay that highlight each other's qualities. Boda's tone is warm, gentle and suggestive, focused on concise, linearly-flowing ideas, while Hirabayashi always offers highly original and more improvised abstractions of these ideas. Olevik and Fryland envelope while Boda and Hirabayashi exchange ideas with solid yet open pulse, except on the brief, free-improvised "Haiku #1" and "Haiku #2." The drama in these stories is usually quite minor and subtle but "Mammoth March" evokes a sense of mysterious adventure and the playful "African Flavour" that offers a kind of imaginary dance.

Promising, evocative and beautiful.

Track Listing: The Dark Side of the Night; Chasing Pixies; Storyteller; Homeland; Mammoth March; Haiku #1; Metamorphosis; Time of the Wind; African Flavour; Drifting; Haiku #2.

Personnel: Pia Boda: soprano and tenor saxophone; Makiko Hirabayashi: piano; Erik Olevik: double bass; Andreas Fryland: drums.

Title: Chasing Pixies | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Gateway Music

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