All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

536

Knut Reiersrud: Gitar

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
So much has been written about the Nordic sound that it's easy to forget, for most Norwegians—like anyone else—that their roots don't lay entirely within the tradition of their own country. In the case of the normally far-from-reticent Knut Reiersrud and the aptly titled Gitar, there are trace elements of traditional British folk music, the blues, Ry Cooder, acoustic tap-masters like Michael Hedges and more, but the result is a masterful album of gentle beauty, with Reiersrud's inestimable talents subsumed into a calming quietude.

"Bring a bunch of different guitars to the studio, sit down with a cup of Italian grind and play soft and relaxed," instructed producer/Jazzland label head/keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft, who also plays on five of these largely original eleven tracks. Wesseltoft, one of Nu Jazz's founding fathers, has always proven to be capable of virtually anything, and here he helps create a soft, near-ambient vibe on the opening "Mohan Vina," where Reiersrud's overdubbed mix of Indian lap steel and bowed baritone guitar is bolstered by Wesseltoft's soft cushion of Fender Rhodes, setting a soft pace for what's to come. Rhodes figures prominently also on "The Hook," a ten-minute improv that, with drummer Andreas Bye's spare back beat, suggests how John Lee Hooker might sound, were he alive today and playing chill-out music.

It's an eclectic set of material, joined together by the tranquil vibe that arcs over the entire album. The mellow gospel tinge of "Low Swing" recalls, in the subtlest of ways, 1970s groove groups like Stuff, with Reiersrud's layering bluesy bends and singable melodies over Wesseltoft's Hammond organ and finger snaps. A combination of tapping and slapping the strings of his Japanese K'Yari guitar allows Reiersrud to emulate a hammered dulcimer, with Wesseltoft's synth expanding the soundscape, while on "Magnolia," trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer sits in on what's essentially an in-the-moment improv over a series of four chords played by Reiersrud on a resonant, drop-tuned 12-string acoustic guitar. The same instrument is used on Skip James' "Hard Times Killing Floor," but Reiersrud's laidback vocal—the only one on the disc—and unusual chord voicings bring an altogether different vibe to this blues standard.

As much as the added collaborations on eight of the tracks give Gitar greater depth, Reiersrud is just as compelling on his own. A gentle tremolo, applied to his D-tuned Fender Esquire creates a satiny cushion for Reiersrud's overdubbed resonator guitar, while on "Gorrlausen," the album's most fervent track, Reiersrud references the Norwegian traditional fiddle tuning for an unaccompanied miniature as impressive for its restraint as for its confident virtuosity.

Gitar may be understated, but it's a masterwork nevertheless; an album that, after just missing the boat for 2009 "best of" lists, remains an early contender for the new year.

Track Listing: Mohan Vina; Eleanor Cross; Hard Time Killing Floor; Magnolia; Gorrlausen; Tamil; The Hook; Waltz; Low Swing; Spanking the Plank; Epilog.

Personnel: Knut Reiersrud: guitars, voice (3); Bugge Wesseltoft: Fender Rhodes electric piano and Hammond B-3 organ (1, 7, 9), Prophet 08 synth (10), piano (11); Nils Petter Molvaær: trumpet (4); Javid Afsari Rad: santour (6); Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen: bass (7); Andreas Bye: drums (7).

Title: Gitar | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Jazzland Recordings

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Gitar

Gitar

Jazzland Recordings
2010

buy
 

Gitar

Curling Legs
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Selective Coverage" CD/LP/Track Review Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Bismuth" CD/LP/Track Review Bismuth
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "Aleka" CD/LP/Track Review Aleka
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "(Willisau) 1991 Studio" CD/LP/Track Review (Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" CD/LP/Track Review Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 5, 2018
Read "Anniversary" CD/LP/Track Review Anniversary
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 25, 2018