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Friends & Neighbors: Circles


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Friends & Neighbors: Circles
Let's talk about Bird. Bird, not as in the sobriquet given to Charlie Parker but the actions of a bird, such as a parrot. Many a musician mechanically repeats the music of their musical heroes. For example, after Parker, we hear Phil Woods and Sonny Stitt recycling bebop. The Miles Davis' quintet of the 1960s begat the so-called young lions of the 1980s and 90s repeating the discoveries of post-bop jazz. So, when a Scandinavian quintet chooses a band name such as Friends & Neighbors, a reference to the 1970 recording and composition by Ornette Coleman, you might hesitate with the parrot factor in mind. Please don't, because rather than repeat a style this quintet builds a new house upon its foundations. In this case it is the innovations of Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Bobby Bradford/John Carter and Dewey Redman/Don Cherry that are amplified.

Circles follows The Earth Is # (Clean Feed, 2021) and is the quintet's sixth recording. Besides a stable lineup, each musician contributes compositions to this session. Opening with "Cecil," and a sprinkling of Cecil Taylor's keyboard plunk and dance, the quintet articulates both a shambolic and organized sound. The music is both free and disciplined at the same time as if the compositions are saying we digested revolutionary ideas of the 1960s, let's now polish them a bit. The title track has the fragrance of Pharoah Sanders and Albert Ayler with the trumpet of Thomas Johansson then Andre Roligheten's constructions. "Latin Phonetics" pairs Tollef Østvang's drums with first Oscar Grönberg's piano attack followed by a tight ensemble sound that spins outward with solos by Johansson and Roligheten. While we use iconic jazz musicians as references for this music, this quintet Friends & Neighbors is nothing if not original. Bassist Jon Rune Strøm's "Hymn Infinitum" trades in a melancholic mellowness that resides both as a chamber music piece and improvisatory platform. The music is fearless and original as it flies in a parrot-free zone.

Track Listing

Cecil; Circles; Ghost March; Son; Charles; Hymn Infinitum; Latin Phonetics.


Friends & Neighbors
band / ensemble / orchestra
Andre Roligheten
saxophone, tenor

Album information

Title: Circles | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Clean Feed



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