13

Marius Neset/Trondheim Jazz Orchestra: Lion

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Marius Neset/Trondheim Jazz Orchestra: Lion Lion is a good name for Marius Neset's first recording with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, for like a great cat, the Norwegian orchestra purrs and prowls, roars and pounces. Regardless of tempo—whether cruising or charging—there's majesty in the collective voice. Commissioned for the Molde Jazz Festival in 2012, the momentum from that performance took Neset and this twelve-piece orchestra into the recording studio with spectacular results.

In fourteen years, the TJO has become something of a Norwegian national institution, reaching an ever-greater audience across Europe. Lion is another feather in its cap, following collaborations with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Kim Myhr and Eirik Hegdal. It also enhances Neset's reputation as one of the most exciting musicians/composers to have emerged in the last decade.

In a 2012 All About Jazz interview Neset spoke of his collaboration with the prolific TJO: "When you write for the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, you write for twelve individual musicians rather than in the traditional way for a big band. Each individual personality is really attacking the music..."; without a doubt, vibrant attack and bags of personality color the five commissioned compositions plus arrangements of the title tracks from Neset's Golden Xplosion (Edition Records, 2011), the extraordinary Birds (Edition Records, 2013) and "Sacred Universe" from the latter disc.

On the title track, a sotto voce tuba growl and hymnal brass reverie recede under the weight of punchy cross-riffs and a pulsing, multi-voiced motif. Individaul voices—baritone saxophone and accordion—weave their way through Neset's knotty chart, which the TJO sings like the glorious love-child of Frank Zappa and Terry Riley. It's a highly evocative opener that stirs the blood. The metronome goes into double time on "Golden Xplosion," whose rhythmic density and tight-knit patterns give way to small ensemble freedom as Neset unfurls a bustling solo, driven by the powerhouse team of bassist Petter Eldh and drummer Gard Nilssen.

The episodic "In the Ring" shifts between folk-jazz—burrowing trombone and snappy drums—and Balkan wedding fare, as though Rabih Abou-Khalil had passed the baton to Goran Bregovic; Hanna Paulsberg's lyrical tenor solo crowns the slower mid-section before the TJO rekindles the collective flame. Unaccompanied tenor saxophone announces "Sacred Universe," a strikingly melodic anthem that juxtaposes small ensemble, John Coltrane-esque acoustic jazz and swirling big-band bravura. Hegdal's head-shaking, dog-with-a-bone baritone solo sets the tone for "Weight of the World"; Espen Berg's gently undulating piano sews the seeds for the beat-heavy, thumping brass riff-cum-searing saxophone section that leans towards the Flat Earth Society's big-band iconoclasm.

Daniel Herskedal's aching tuba on the ruminative "Raining" evokes Neck of the Woods (Edition Records, 2012), his haunting folk/sacred music collaboration with Neset. A wild and impassioned version of "Birds," with Neset and the TJO sailing nine sheets to the wind, closes the set on a powerful, triumphant high.

The TJO's potent interpretation of Neset's unique charts makes for a visceral, lyrical and highly infectious ride; it could hardly be otherwise with a summit meeting between one of the great modern jazz orchestras and, in Neset, one of jazz's brightest young all-rounders. Hugely satisfying.

Track Listing: Lion; Golden Xplosion; In The Ring; Interlude; Sacred Universe; Weight of the World; Raining; Birds.

Personnel: Marius Neset: tenor and soprano saxophones; Hanna Paulsberg: tenor saxophone; Peter Fuglsang: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet; Eirik Hegdal: bartone and soprano saxophones; Eivind Lønning: trumpet; Erik Eilertsen: trumpet; Erik Johannessen: trombone; Daniel Herskedal: tuba Jovan Pavlovic: accordion; Espen Berg: piano; Petter Eldh: bass; Gard Nilssen: drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba. Ingrid Neset: flute and piccolo flute (5, 8).

Title: Lion | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: ACT Music


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Can't Get Started CD/LP/Track Review Can't Get Started
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Viriditas CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Jorg Schippa's Kiosk CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Soul Trio CD/LP/Track Review Soul Trio
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Baby Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Baby Talk
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Miles Goes Wes" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Goes Wes
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Apocalypse" CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Sunkissed" CD/LP/Track Review Sunkissed
by Jeff Winbush
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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