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Torben Waldorff: Holiday On Fire

Dan McClenaghan By

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Two impressions stick in the mind after a couple of spins of guitarist Torben Waldorff's Holiday On Fire: one—he rips like a rock star; and two—the band he has put together  has a sharply distinctive, modern, maybe even futuristic sound. The rock star aspect: not a surprise, for a musician whose introduction to the art began with American blues and rock and roll. As for the assemblage of the band: he's put together great groups on his four previous CDs releases, but this brings Waldorff's vision of how things should sound into a sharp focus.

So, according to the Dutch guitarist Waldorf—home-based now in Sweden—how should things sound? The answer, according to Holiday On Fire: metallic, reverberant, full of blurred harmonies shot through with sparkling sonic starbursts.

Searching for the key to the success of the sound leads to the conglomerate rather than an individual voice. Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen is here, blending in like a chameleon for the most part. Her contribution, for the most part, is less a front line instrument, more a sneaky layer in the dense harmonies. Piano/Rhodes woman Maggi Olincreates pure beauty in her acoustic mode—"Our Sound Of Love (Charles's and Duke's)"—and she shines up the textures with the sonic equivalent of an electric fence, on "Combust" and Thyst" and elsewhere. This achieved in tandem with the rock star leader, sometimes making it hard to figure out who is making what sounds. A thought comes to mind: maybe this is what Miles Davis would have created had he brought a killer guitarist in earlier, round about Filles De Kilimanjaro (Columbia Records) time, then continued to shape the direction of that particular vision.

"Belligerent Beauty" closes the set, with Jensen sounding rhapsodic on the trumpet, issuing long elastic lines over a tight arrangement, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Johnathan Blake weaving a knotty rhythm, Waldorff and Olin polishing it all up to a high shine.

Track Listing: Thyst Intro; Thyst; Combust; Our Sounds Of Love (And Charlie's and Duke's); Off To Far; Ironic Tonic; Belligerent Beauty.

Personnel: Torben Waldorff: guitar; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet; Maggi Olin: piano, Rhodes; Drew Gress: bass; Johnathan Blake: drums.

Title: Holiday On Fire | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Artist Share

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