530

Helge Sunde Ensemble Denada: Finding Nymo

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Helge Sunde Ensemble Denada: Finding Nymo 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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Overseas V" CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 19, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!