Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

6

Ketil Bjornstad: La Notte

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: La Notte | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2017