Giraf is the latest from the always excellent "New Jungle Orchestra". Here, along with guitarist and bandleader Pierre Dorge, NJO explore some adventurous left-of-center frontiers, which could mark a new beginning for this band. On Giraf Dorge enlists some talented guest artists which include the highly regarded saxophonist John Tchicai along with Achille Succi (bass clarinet), John Ehde (cello), and Josefine Cronholm (vocals).
Pianist-vocalist Irene Becker authored the composition titled, "Lullaby For Tchicai" which features a mock Latin cha-cha and dissonant passage from cellist John Ehde. Here, the horn charts are fabulous as this piece takes a few deviations from the straight and narrow. Pierre Dorge's "Abe Teyata" is a festive affair, complete with African rhythms and bright horns as this composition evolves into a Caribbean motif. A medley titled, "Baton/Lonely Woman" commences with Dorge's composition, which segues into the infamous Ornette Coleman tune, "Lonely Woman". This track develops into an adventurous and wildly free motif featuring lovely, atmospheric vocals from Josefine Cronholm and plenty of solo space for the ensemble. Dorge's composition "Hawk Meets Sun Ra" conveys lucid imagery of an unlikely meeting between the legendary tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and Big Band innovator/stylist Sun Ra. Bent Clausen's "Baby Gorilla Walk" is yet another one of those classic NJO tunes that could easily be a theme song for a Hollywood film. Highlights of this piece are; airy scat-like vocals, tight, bouncy rhythms, ultra-cool horn charts and fierce soloing. These folks could make a killing in tinsel town!
The closer, Dorge's "Something ELSE" is a budding yet climactic requiem of sorts. More evidence of NJO's propensity to delve into free jazz on this new release. Giraf may outline a new series of developments for NJO; however, many of the identifiable and signature style characteristics of this band remain intact. On Giraf NJO blaze a few new trails yet retain the magic that has been their calling card. Highly Recommended! * * * *
Pierre Dorge; Leader, Guitar & Vocal: Kasper Tranberg; Cornet: Jakob Mygind; Soprano & Alto Sax: Morten Carlsen; Tarogato & Tenor Sax: Kenneth Agerholm; Trombone & Vocal: Mads Hyhne; Trombone & Vocal: Irene Becker; Piano, Keyboard & Vocal: Hugo Rasmussen; Bass: Ayi Solomon: Percussion: Bent Clausen; Drums & Percussion. Special Guests: John Tchicai; Soprano & Tenor Sax: Achille Succi; Bass Clarinet: Josefine Cronholm; Vocal: John Ehde; Cello.