Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

33

Erik Johannessen: Inkblots

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Norwegian trombonist Erik Johannessen is a very busy musician: he is a member of the left-of-center Norwegian jazz outfits Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, Lord Kelvin and Magic Pocket, and contributes to recordings by artful songwriters such as Susanne Sundfør and Synne Sanden, so it is no surprise that he has only now released his first solo album.

Luckily, Johannessen justifies the waiting by a beautiful set of short compositions which accommodate the rich vocabulary of his instrumental sounds. Johannessen can produce extraterrestrial noisy sounds, swing hard, improvise freely on the spot or sing through his horn. He carries his themes—described as inspired by "comic books, mythology, European buildings, New York and the Rorschach test"—with melodic charm and playful humor. He is enjoyed by the tight rhythm section of bassist Jon Rune Strøm (of the Frode Gjerstad trio), and young Magic Pocket drummer Erik Nylander.

The music travels between moods: from the meditative opening, "Swamp Thing," organically to the fiery "A Comedian Died in New York"; naturally, from the cinematic "Gramercy Riffs," the elegiac 'Mystic," tone poem "The Wooden Crane of Gdansk" and experimental "Liberty Bridge" to the twisted structure of the title piece. Johannessen leads his trio through this sonic adventure with charismatic power and assured playing, and leaves enough room for Strøm and Nylander to solidify the compositions. His playing is rooted in the modern and free jazz legacy, but has its own personal sound and language.

Johannessen's idol, trombonist Øyvind Brække, guests on three playful pieces. The humorous "Whale Song Sing-Along," the melodic "Jeff Smax," and a poetic cover of Bill Frisell's "Egg Radio," from the guitarist's Gone, Just Like a Train (Nonesuch, 1988).

A very impressive debut.

Track Listing: Swamp Song; A Comedian Died in New York; Gramercy Riffs; Mystic; The Wooden Crane of Gdansk; The Gap; Liberty Bridge; Inkblots; Every Day; Whale Song Sing-along; Jeff Smax; Egg Radio; Fiddler's Green.

Personnel: Erik Johannessen: trombone; Jon Rune Strøm: double bass; Erik Nylander: drums; Øyvind Brække: trombone (10-12).

Title: Inkblots | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Gigafon


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Sonder" CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Serious Play" CD/LP/Track Review Serious Play
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 3, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!