Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
174

Jel Plsson: Klif

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count Views
: Klif The members of saxophonist Jóel Pálsson's quartet on Klif share two things in common: first, they're all Icelandic; and second, they all have a profound respect for space. (Apparently island identity and an aversion to density are not mututally exclusive.) The tunes on Klif, all Pálsson originals (except "Serenity," by guitarist Jensson; and "Interlude," an apparent collective improvisation), operate in the middle zone of intensity. They toy with tension, building and releasing small peaks and valleys within a very fluid overall context. Guitarist Hilmar Jensson deserves much of the credit for his vital role ensuring continuity. His stretched-out, reverberant tones often connect the gaps between pockets of relative energy.

For a mellow record, Klif has a lot to offer. Because Pálsson takes a serious, deliberate approach to his lead role, the group retains a strong sense of forward momentum. His playing often has a bittersweet, ironic quality—at times echoing the way Coltrane might adhere closely to the formal harmony and then peel off at the end of a phrase. But Pálsson certainly speaks with his own voice. Of the four members of this group, bassist Skúli Sverisson has perhaps the greatest name recognition (at least in NYC circles), and he's quite familiar with this particular instrumentation. When Sverisson steps forward, as on the upbeat tune "Rats," he tends to pull the group along with him. When he holds back, he nestles in with the drummer for understated counterpoint. The dichotomous composition "Ivaf," for example, echoes an Eastern European sense of blocky rhythm—until Sverisson shifts to reverb-drenched oscillations, and then the piece implodes to yield some of the most poignant moments on the record.

Because the players on Klif have an intuitive respect for each other's musical roles, they fit into a coherent whole. The music that results may not offer any electric spark or excitement, but it's extremely coherent and quite beautiful in an introspective way.


Track Listing: Proximity; Interlude; Oceanic; Rats; No Question; Pink&blue; Ivaf; Taming the Beast; Serenity.

Personnel: Jel Plsson: tenor and soprano saxophones, contrabass clarinet; Hilmar Jensson: guitar; Skli Sverisson: electric bass; Matthias M.D. Hemstock: drums and percussion.

| Record Label: Omi Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Innri
Innri
Flugur
2015
buy
Horn
Horn

2012
buy
Horn
Horn

2010
buy
Varp
Varp
Self Produced
2007
buy
Septett
Septett
Omi Records
2003
buy
Klif
Klif
Omi Records
2001
buy
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Steve Kuhn Steve Kuhn
piano
Tom Christensen Tom Christensen
saxophone
Joe Diorio Joe Diorio
guitar
John Basile John Basile
guitar
Ray Bryant Ray Bryant
piano

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.