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Mette Henriette: Drifting


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Mette Henriette: Drifting
With her self-titled double album debut in 2015, Norwegian saxophonist Mette Henriette arrived on ECM Records, and the international jazz scene, with an impressively assured artistic statement. On it she introduced her versatile technical skills, running the gamut from untamed skronk to near-silent breathing, all presented with her wintry perspective—a perfect fit for the chilly atmospheres that have become a trademark of ECM Records. 

Beyond the stock-in-trade chill of Nordic jazz, Henriette has a particular interest in the textures of sounds. In her debut's  press kit, she explained how "one of the first sounds" she remembered was "the sound of the owl," and how she tried to mimic its calls. In that album's second track, ."oOo.," she brought the comparison to life, using birdlike murmurations to echo the onomatopoeic rendering of the song's title. 

Drifting offers a similar appreciation for details. As on disc one of her debut, she performs in a trio format. Johan Lindvall (of the Johan Lindvall Trio) returns on the piano, while Australian violoncellist Judith Hamann is a newcomer to ECM. The presence of Hamann, who is devoted to microtonal and unconventional explorations of the cello, makes perfect sense for the album's experimental ethos.

Given the limited palette, the emotions captured in Drifting are immediately striking.  "I Villvind" ("in wild wind") offers a stunning cascade of notes from Lindvall, which is joined by Henriette's alternately textural and melodic playing. The piano and saxophone at the forefront of Drifting can sometimes recall the work of Trygve Seim and Andreas Utnem on Purcor (ECM Records, 2010), but Henriette is even more attuned to the subtleties of her instrument here, probing tiny gradations in breath or intensity. The gorgeous "0°" ("zero degrees") encapsulates this approach. Like ."oOo." on her debut, it is a captivating conceptual exploration, in this case conjuring a wind-blown Scandinavian landscape.

Like fellow Norwegian Sigurd Hole, Henriette explores a porous boundary between experimental and approachable, while maintaining a vivid, expressive style. The result is an immediately charming release as much about texture and decay as it is melody.

Track Listing

The 7th; Across the floor; I villvind; Cadat; Chassé; Drifting; Oversoar; Rue du Renard; Indrifting you; A Choo; Ciedda, fas; 0°; Solsnu; Crescent; Divining.


Mette Henriette: saxophone, tenor; Johan Lindvall: piano; Judith Hamann: cello.

Album information

Title: Drifting | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: ECM Records

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