Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

6

Ketil Bjornstad: La Notte

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Ketil Bjornstad: La Notte Recorded live on July 21st 2010 at the Molde International Jazz Festival, Norwegian pianist Ketil Bjørnstad's La Notte is an eight piece suite inspired by the 1961 drama of the same name by the great Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. It is not, however, a mere Antonioni tribute, but an homage to innovative filmmakers in general and in a way to the art of cinema itself.

Opening with haunting strings and Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur's rumbling beats the first movement sets an expectant and dramatic ambience that Bjørnstad's own sparse notes enhance. German cellist Anja Lechner's long, somber tones fill the space with an achingly gorgeous and reserved lament. Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen adds a touch of mysticism with his agile, oud like improvisation.

The music takes a poetic bent as British saxophonist Andy Sheppard's serpentine soprano states the theme on part two in relaxed, mellifluous refrains. This leads to Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset's reverberating emotive solo whose passion is matched by Sheppard's own expansive soaring sax. Mazur's rich and colorful polyrhythms conclude the track.

The album goes through many moods, from Sheppard and Lechner's alternating spirited dances that melt into a melodic and whimsical group play on the third section to the breathtaking climax of the seventh passage. The latter emerges immediately out of the intensely intimate cello/bass conversation that closes the sixth with an elegiac beauty. Andersen goes from lyrical pizzicato to fiery acrobatics leading a turbulent and spontaneous ensemble expression replete with his wordless humming. Sheppard's acerbic, free flowing lines echo Aarset's scorching sonic swells that flow freely over Mazur's energetic, angular drums.

There are also exquisitely tender moments on the record. The warm, comforting sound of Lechner's lilting bowing and Sheppard's breathy tenor over Bjørnstad's undulating shimmering phrases and Mazur's chiming, sparkling cymbals and bells evokes a harmonious domestic scene on "IV." This contrasts nicely with the almost Baroque, stately motif of the fifth segment of the opus. Lechner and Sheppard intertwine their respective extemporizations like a lovers' embrace on the ethereal, almost spiritual "VIII." Aarset's electronics enhance the otherworldly atmosphere memorably bringing the album to a close.

Much like the works of the cineastes that have inspired Bjørnstad's stimulating and captivating composition, its intellectual and emotional impact lasts long after the disc has stopped spinning.


Track Listing: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI; Part VII; Part VIII.

Personnel: Ketil Bjørnstad: piano; Andy Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophones; Eivind Aarset: guitars, electronics; Anja Lechner: violoncello; Arild Andersen: double bass; Marilyn Mazur: percussion.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: ECM Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Umbrella Weather CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Born In An Urban Ruin CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Sounds of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds of 3
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "The Whole World Must Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Whole World Must Change
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Colors for the Masters" CD/LP/Track Review Colors for the Masters
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Solo Plus" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Plus
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Fourmation" CD/LP/Track Review Fourmation
by John Ephland
Published: March 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!