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Fire! Orchestra: Echoes

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A decade on from the release of their first album, Exit (Rune Grammofon, 2013), Fire! Orchestra releases their first post-Covid album, Echoes, their seventh altogether. This double-CD or triple-LP album runs for just over an hour and fifty minutes. It was studio-recorded at the Atlantis studio in Stockholm, in March 2022. Compared to past line-ups which have never before exceeded thirty musicians, this edition of Fire! Orchestra has forty-three members.

That number includes such perennial mainstays as vocalist Mariam Wallentin, trumpeter Niklas Barnö, alto saxophonist Anna Högberg as well as saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling, and drummer Andreas Werliin—the three members of Fire! who formed the orchestra and wrote most of this album's music. As so often before, Berthling and Werliin maintain a rhythmic groove which is the beating heart of the music throughout, even though the different compositions contain elements from folk, jazz, rock, classical and contemporary music.

At the heart of Echoes is the title piece itself, which is in seven parts distributed through the album. When it had its concert premiere, at the Stockholm Jazz Festival, in October 2022, the piece ran for nearly two hours. Here it runs for under eighty-five minutes. Of the seven pieces, four feature vocals, giving them and the album a pleasing atmosphere. Of all of them, perhaps the most surprising track is "ECHOES: I see your eye, part 2" which features Fire! Orchestra newcomer Joe McPhee on vocals and tenor sax. The track takes the form of an amusing tribute to an unnamed late, great jazz master; listening to it, many jazz aficionados may form their own opinions of the identity of its subject, but McPhee throws enough red herrings into the lyrics to make it virtually impossible to identify him.

Listened to as a whole, and judged as such, Echoes is an album which has enough variety and fine musicianship to entertain and satisfy an extremely broad range of music lovers. It is a measure of its success that the album must be said to be one of Fire! Orchestra's very finest.

Track Listing

ECHOES: I See Your Eye, Part 1; ECHOES: Forest Without Shadows; ECHOES: To Gather It All. Once; Sliding Whisper Of Pain; ECHOES: Lost Eyes In Dying Hand; Welcoming You. Drinking Your Dream; ECHOES: A Lost Farewell; Nothing Astray. All Falling; In Those Veins. A Silvernet; ECHOES: Cala Boca Menino; Double Loneliness; Respirations; Not Yet Born. The Blind Courage Of Life; ECHOES: I See Your Eye, Part 2.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Mariam Wallentin: vocal (3); David Sandström: vocal (5); Tomas Öberg: vocal (10); Joe Mcphee: vocal (14), tenor sax (5); Josefin Runsteen: violin; Anna Lindal: violin; My Hellgren: cello; Amalie Stalheim: cello; Goran Kajfeš: trumpet, slide trumpet; Niklas Barnö: trumpet; Susana Santos Silva: trumpet; Tobias Wiklund: trumpet; Mats Äleklint: trombone; Maria Bertel: trombone; Per Åke Holmlander: tuba; Heiða Karine Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck: tuba; Per Ruskträsk Johansson: sopranino sax, bass flute; Anna Högberg: alto sax, flute; Signe Krunderup Emmeluth: alto sax; Julia Strzalek: alto sax, flute; Lars Göran Ulander: alto sax, flute; Mette Rasmussen: alto sax, flute; Fredrik Ljungkvist: tenor sax; Elin Forkelid: tenor sax; Alberto Pinton: baritone sax, clarinet, bass flute; Daniel Gahrton: baritone sax, flute; Dror Feiler: alto sax, soprillo sax, slide sax, flute and bells; Per Texas Johansson: oboe, bassoon, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, flute; Christer Bothén: bass clarinet, guembri, donso n ́goni; Isak Hedtjärn: clarinet; Andreas Röysum: bass clarinet, clarinet, flute; Martin Hederos: fender rhodes, organ; Alex Zethson: piano, synthesizer; Sten Sandell: piano; Kjell Nordeson: vibraphone, glockenspiel; Mats Lindström: electronics; Reine Fiske: guitar; Niklas Fite: banjo; Elsa Bergman: double bass; Juan Romero: percussion, berimbau; Mats Gustafsson: baritone sax, flutes, conductions; Johan Berthling: acoustic bass, electric bass; Andreas Werliin: drums

Album information

Title: Echoes | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon

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