As only eight musicians are named in the album's notes, methinks Norway's Eveneven Big Band was pieced together with the help of modern high-tech know-how (specifically, overdubbing). The band's uncommon name derives from that of its leader, which used to be Even Kruse Skatrud. The past tense is necessary because the composer/arranger/trombonist's name is now Even Skatrud Andersen (he was recently married). The name of the band, however, remains unchanged.
One reason to suspect that dubbing played an essential role in the recording process is that there is one track, "Good Weather, on which Skatrud Andersen plays no less than ten trombones at once, which would be highly unlikely even if he were equipped with more than the usual two arms and one mouth (the two last names probably wouldn't help). There's also a "fuzz trombone feature, "Tendenser, which embodies more rock than fuzz, an ambiance underscored by Børre Dalhaug screeching guitar (Dalhaug also plays drums on "Tendenser" and every other number).
As everything was written and arranged by Andersen, the music presumably mirrors his personality, which may best be described as cheerful. Almost every tune is upbeat, and every one swings in its own way. Even the solemn "Ten Dollar Blues, reminiscent of "Harlem Nocturne, has a playful edge, suggesting darkness but never quite yielding to it. Elsewhere, the mood is earnestly bright and upbeat, and Andersen's partners perform so seamlessly as a unit that one is never left with the impression that this isn't a bona fide big band.
To me, the most agreeable tracks are the carefree swingers"It's Gumbo Time (I'd have led with that one), "La Première Fois and "Slide Away although the gentle ballad "Forgotten certainly has much to recommend it. Børge-Are Halvorsen, who takes all the saxophone solos, is a standout there, as he is throughout, on tenor or alto. Andersen is a splendid player too, one whose fluid style would seem to suggest that he has listened more than once to the great Carl Fontana, among others.
In the end, however, it is Andersen's skill as a writer on which his debut album rests, and he proves to be quite capable if not especially inventive. We're told that the CD has received excellent reviews and been selling well in Norway, and deservedly so. Music as charming as this deserves an "eveneven wider audience.
Track Listing: Tiny Elephant; Mr. Johnson; It
Personnel: Even Kruse Skatrud (Andersen): leader, trombone; Frank Brodahl, Marius Holtli: trumpet;
| Year Released: 2007
| Record Label: Schmell