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Good can triumph over evil. It's just that evil is just so well organized by the political parties, oil corporations, and media conglomerates that the voice of dissent is often overshadowed. Like Woody Guthrie or Charles Mingus utilizing music to protest the sins of their time, today, bubbling in between the cracks of popular culture is the requisite dissent to war, racism, nazism, and imperialistic hate. Enter the Scandinavian sextet Angles with a true gem of a live recording.
All six tracks were written by saxophonist Martin Küchen, who also penned the liner notes which explain the wordless compositions. Küchen, a member of Exploding Customer with Kjell Nordeson, plays with a such a searing power, there is no need for lyrics to explain his protest music. This post-bop approach is born from the spirit of Mingus. The players, trumpeter Magnus Broo and drummer Kjell Nordeson (AALY Trio), are certainly familiar to listeners and fans of Chicagoan Ken Vandermark's projects and both can be heard on the Atomic/School Days session Distil (Okka).
The disc opens with the processional "Peace Is Not For Us" with Nordeson rolling thunder beneath the marching lines of Berthling's bass. Run! The troops are coming! is the ominous feel as Mats Äleklint's trombone covers the battleground. "My World of Mines" marches also with a funky groove, matched by some tight horn arrangements. When the piece breaks into solos, it’s Mattias Ståhl's vibraphone that tears through a powerful statement, enough so, to quiet his playing partners. The Eastern feel of "The Indispensable Warlords" is a great vehicle for Küchen's muscular saxophone to be heard. Part wail and part siren, he rivets your ears to his call. The title track doubles the intensity, not only with a relentless African groove, but with more scorching solos.
This record will be on many 'best of' lists for 2008.
Track Listing: Peace Is Not For Us; Don’t Ruin Me; My World of Mines; Every Woman is a Tree; The Indispensable Warlords; Let’s Talk About the Weather (And Not About the War).
Personnel: Martin Küchen: alto saxophone; Magnus Broo: trumpet; Mats Äleklint: trombone; Mattias Ståhl: vibraphone; Johan Berthling: double bass; Kjell Nordeson: drums.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.