Sometimes a lack of musical direction can be a good thing, and such an absence canat timeslead to a journey in discovery. Such is the case with this album, on which trombonist Ray Anderson joins forces with the Danish group Ibrahim ElectricNiclas Knudsen (guitar), Jeppe Tuxen (B3), Stefan Pasborg (drums)for a live set at Copenhagen Jazzhouse. There were, as the liner notes state, no rehearsals, and the result is this exciting mix of various musical influences.
Opening with "Fela, an original tune by the band, Anderson immediately feels at home, taking the funk-inflected song into a whole new direction. At one point, the trio just stops and lets the trombonist do his thing, which garners considerable applause. On "Pet Pettostan, Tuxen leads the song with his B3 and Anderson takes the lead for about a few minutes, stepping aside to allow for Knudsen to show his chops. Tuxen playfully weaves in the opening bars of The Addams Family
theme, closing the song with a bending solo.
"Formula, a standard twelve-bar blues, serves as a showcase for Knudsen, who plays with a groove that sounds like a cross between B.B. King, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. What begins as a simple solo slowly changes into a more complex mode, and the tempo changes as Tuxen offers his own statement. At the end Anderson comes in, electrifying the song by exchanging riffs with Tuxen and Knudsen and finding a space of his own within the band.
In Anderson's own "Choppers, the trio goes into a more experimental direction. There are broken notes everywhere, and the trio successfully follows Anderson as he delves into what seems to be a bit of uncharted territory. The track sounds a bit out of place on a disc that tends to be more blues/funk-inflected, but somehow they are able to come together.
One of the most enjoyable moments is the up-tempo "The Tuxen Shuffle, in which the musicians go into more of a playful mode. It is Tuxen's song and he takes the lead for most of it (there is no bassist, so he handles the bass notes himself), sharing the spotlight with the guest of honor, who burns the mic with his improvisations. It almost makes you wish that you had been in Copenhagen that night.
Fela; Pet Pettostan; Formula; Choppers; Lux; The Tuxen Shuffle.
Ray Anderson: trombone; Niclas Knudsen: guitar; Jeppe Tuxen: Hammond B3 organ; Stefan Pasborg: drums.