Danish multi-reed player Julie Kjaer blends an infectious enthusiasm with innovative ideas that, together with hersuperb instrumental prowess, result in captivating works. Her second release as a leader, the stimulating Dobbeltgaeenger is the perfect showcase of her superb skills and brilliant musicianship. Sticking only to alto saxophone, a woodwind she has thoroughly mastered, Kjaer lets loose a flood of creativity that carries within it multifaceted expressions and vibrant emotions.
"Out of Sight" opens the album with a bang as Kjaer blows and honks with a gritty, assertive tone and unbridled energy. Drummer Steve Noble and bassist John Edwards buoy Kjaer's passionate and intricate improvisation with their percolating beats. Seamlessly the tune transforms into a contemplative duet between Kjaer's longing, softly reverberating alto and Edwards's melancholic con arco song. Out of this wistful dialogue emerges a free flowing and spirited three-way conversation filled with delightful dissonance and intriguing phraseology. Throughout the tension does not let up and neither does the dramatic ambience.
The spare setting of the trio allows for many inventive exchanges among the group members. Kjaer's hushed notes, Edwards' gentle drone and Noble's edgy thuds set the expectant atmosphere of the title track. As Noble's kit rumbles and cymbals crash Kjaer weaves long, dark lines that Edward mirrors with his agile and somber bowing. This ensemble performance bears marks of Western Classical influences and brims with a solemn and pastoral spirituality. Simultaneous, individual statements form the core of the otherworldly "Pleasantly Troubled." Three stream of consciousness spontaneous monologues join forming a pensive yet fiery and roughhewn yet lyrical piece. Edwards' resonant strings, Kjaer's plaintive and fervent wails and Noble's angular thuds and thrums construct eerily haunting music. Riotous and eloquent ensemble play ushers in the stirring conclusion.
This ingenious recording is a bold and provocative statement that secures Kjaer's position as an accomplished and original saxophonist at the forefront of modern jazz. The record also whets the appetite for more to come from this singular and electrifying artist.
Out of Sight; Face; Alto Madness; Pleasantly Troubled; Dear Mr. Bee;
Julie Kjaer: alto saxophone; Steve Noble: drums; John Edwards: bass.
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