Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

530

Helge Sunde Ensemble Denada: Finding Nymo

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Its official CD release may have been on October 23, but trombonist/composer Helge Sunde's 2009 Enjoy Jazz performance on October 21 was an equally rare opportunity to hear his Ensemble Denada, a Norwegian big band that, not surprisingly, blends a healthy respect for the jazz tradition with more contemporary concerns. Performing the entire Finding Nymo CD, Sunde proved that the big band tradition is alive, well, and growing in the 21st Century. The CD, which features the same ensemble but with the added participation of Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur, may be a slightly abbreviated version of what Sunde's German audience heard at the Alte Feuerwache in Mannheim, but it's no less compelling, with the benefit of the more controlled acoustic environment of Oslo's famous Rainbow Studio and its equally well-known engineer, Jan Erik Kongshaug at the soundboard.

The Norwegians may be the most creative integrators of technology into music, and Sunde makes that clear from the get-go, with the opening vocoder and electronics of "One Word" a perhaps deceptive opening to a set that's largely acoustic, and swings mightily. Bassist Per Mathisen and drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen drive the entire set, whether it's the knotty "Obstler," viscerally swinging "When In Rome," or dark-hued "MoonCrier." Mathisen—a bassist well worth checking out—also solos with a stunning confluence of virtuosic detail and rhythmic intensity on "Bryk."

Sunde's use of the broad textural palette afforded by three trumpets, four trombones, and a mix of saxophones, flutes, and clarinets are striking throughout, whether brash and boisterous on the opening to "When In Rome," dark and colorful on the cinematic imagery of "Valse Trieste," or contrapuntally episodic on the somewhat Zappa-esque "Knegg." Astute and not at all compelled to utilize all his colors at once, Sunde also lets the music breathe during many of the solos, as on "Knegg," where trombonist Even Kruse Skatrud and trumpeter Marius Haltli trade-off with only the support of Mathisen, Johansen, and guitarist Jens Thoresen (whose solo on "When In Rome" is an appealing blend of post-bop sensibility with distorted warmth and a lazy, legato feel).

Most of the players are featured, but it's when two come together on the title track to engage in some friendly sibling rivalry—brothers Atle and Frode Nymo, on tenor and soprano saxophones respectively—that some of the album's most ambitious free play takes place. Atle also takes an extended solo on "Valse Trieste," another highlight; a lyrical blend of deeper indigo and, finally, blistering red as the ensemble swirls around him in a stunningly vivid arrangement.

Russian pianist Olga Konkova also contributes to the disc's blend of jazz tradition with broader stylistic concerns, with hints of contemporary classicism imbuing her solos on "MoonCrier" and the a capella opening to "Bryk." Together with the rest of Ensemble Denada, she brings Sunde's vivid charts to life on a set that's in turns exciting and poignant; a sign that the recent revival of large ensembles in North America is being mirrored with equal aplomb across the pond.

Track Listing: One Word; Obstler; Italian Suite: When In Rome; Italian Suite: Valse Trieste; Italian Suite: Molto Alghero; Finding Nymo; MoonCrier; Knegg (Dark Horse); Bryk (Omkalfatra); Lullaby of Broltesia.

Personnel: Frode Nymo: soprano saxophone; Børge Are Halvorsen: alto saxophone (2, 3, 6, 8, 9); flute (5, 6), alto flute (4, 5, 7, 10); Atle Nymo: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet (7); Nils Jansen: bass saxophone (2, 3, 8, 10), tubax (5, 6), contra alto clarinet (4, 9), flute (5); Frank Brodahl: lead trumpet; Marius Haltli: trumpet; Anders Eriksson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Even Kruse Skatrud: lead trombone; Erik Johannessen: trombone; Arild Hillestad: trombone; Helge Sunde: trombone, electronics; Olga Konkova: piano; Jens Thoresen: guitar; Per Mathisen: acoustic bass; Håkon Mjåset Johansen: drums, percussion; Marilyn Mazur: percussion; Peter Baden: electronics; Ida (Pida) Sunde: vocoder and vocals (1); Henrik Rinde Sunde: snoring (10).

Title: Finding Nymo | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Finding Nymo

Finding Nymo

ACT Music
2009

buy
 

Rotations

Grappa
2006

buy
Denada

Denada

ACT Music
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019