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Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra: Family


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Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra: Family
Why can't all music be supersonic? That does not mean supersonic as in a speed exceeding that of sound, but sound that is sonically superlative. Drummer, composer, and bandleader Gard Nilssen's music is seemingly always sonically superb. His 17-piece Supersonic Orchestra was captured in 2022 at the Mondriaan Jazz Festival in Den Haag, Netherlands, for Family, his follow-up to If You Listen Carefully The Music Is Yours (Odin 2020).

The Supersonic Orchestra is made up of seven saxophones (Andre Roligheten, Eirik Hegdal, Per Texas Johansson, Kjetil Møster, Mette Rasmussen, Maciej Obara, and Signe Emmeluth's Amoeba), two trombones (Erik Johannessen and Guro Kvåle), two trumpets (Thomas Johansson and Goran Kajfes), three double basses (Petter Eldh, Ole Morten Vågan, and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten), and three drum sets (Håkon Mjaset Johansen, Hans Hulbækmo, and Gard Nilssen). No chordal instruments here, no problem. All the music was composed by Nilssen and/or saxophonist Andre Roligheten and arranged by both and flows seamlessly without the guidance of a piano or guitar. Nilssen and Roligheten take their cues from New Orleans' second line marches, Charles Mingus' larger ensembles, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and the South African big band Brotherhood Of Breath.

Opening the concert is "The Space Dance Experiment" with its rowdy and thunderous funk parade marked by the sizzling solos of trumpeter Goran Kajfes and saxophonist Mette Rasmussen. The orchestra seems to be inciting the audience here and throughout their performance. Next up the drummers bring the thunder, before some Albert Ayler-like folk music with "Spending Time With Ludde" which calms for Per Texas Johansson's tenor solo followed by the alto saxophonist Signe Emmeluth's Amoeba and the orchestra's well choreographed return to the theme. "Boogie Stop Tøffel" is a constant motion hip shaker as is "SP68" with its joyous marching rhythms. No doubt, this is party music of the highest quality.

Track Listing

The Space Dance Experiment; Spending Time With Ludde; Letter to Alfred; Boogie Stop Tøffel; The Healing Force Of the Trojan Horse; Supersonic; Dolphin Disco; SP68.


Additional Instrumentation

André Roligheten: bass saxophone, bass clarinet, percussion; Eirik Hegdal: C-melody sax, Bb clarinet, percussion; Per ”Texas” Johansson: contrabass clarinet, Bb clarinet, percussion; Kjetil Møster: baritone saxophone, Bb clarinet, percussion; Mette Rasmussen: percussion; Maciej Obara: percussion; Signe Emmeluth: percussion; Thomas Johansson: percussion; Goran Kajfes: percussion; Erik Johannessen: percussion; Guro Kvålee: percussion; Petter Eldh: percussion; Ole Morten Vågan: percussion; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: percussion; Håkon Mjåset Johansen: percussion; Hans Hulbækmo: percussion; Gard Nilssen: percussion.

Album information

Title: Family | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: We Jazz Records

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