An increasingly visible presence on the London scene, Danish saxophonist Julie Kjaer
's latest move can only accelerate that prominence. For her third outing as leader she has enlisted the support of two of Europe's most accomplished improvisers in bassist John Edwards
and drummer Steve Noble
, who can also be heard fuelling the likes of Peter Brötzmann
and Alan Wilkinson
among others. Both thoroughly buy into her concept of rhythmic and timbral exploration. Edwards propounds an expressive physicality, manifest in string thwacks, notes bent to huge extremes and abrasive sawing, while Noble blends tone colors and tumbling drive.
For the debut by her trio, she features five originals and one joint creation, all recorded live at the legendary Vortex in January 2015. Kjaer merges her charts with no holds barred action in confident style, even though they take relatively conventional form. As such pieces usually start with a head which is restated at some point during the performance, often but not always at the end. But what makes them different is that Kjaer incorporates her improv lexicon even into these frameworks. Examples include the bounce and intervallic leaps of "Out Of Sight" which shapes the ensuing dialogue, the stealthy "Face," interrupted by outbursts of skronk, before it continues as if nothing has happened, and the plosive keypad popping and buoyant shuffle of "Alto Madness."
Many of the same strengths surface in "Pleasantly Troubled," a collective rumination of wavering arco, percussive accents and breathy saxophone, all interspersed with a strong dose of silence. Subsequently it shifts between freewheeling invention with alto yelps and foghorn blurts and further considered exchange, before a final staccato flourish. The title track begins in the same way, but after a minimalist first half of sudden droney crescendos, it transmutes into stately, slightly ominous alto/arco line, shaded by drum rumbles which provides an unexpectedly low lit conclusion to a splendid album.
Track Listing: Out Of Sight; Face; Alto Madness; Pleasantly Troubled; Dear Mr. Bee; Dobbeltgaenger.
Personnel: Julie Kjaer: alto saxophone; John Edwards: bass; Steve Noble: drums.
| Year Released: 2016
| Record Label: Clean Feed Records