Of the twelve current projects in which bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten works, his Chicago Sextet is the one that, perhaps, most foretells his future as a jazz impresario. Like bassist Dave Holland
, who made his reputation with trumpeter Miles Davis
and in the band Circle, before championing (almost exclusively) his own bands both large and small, Flaten has begun to open his own seminary of music.
A mainstay of the now infamous Scandinavian bands Atomic
and The Thing
, Flaten now lives in Austin, and has branched out to create a Texas band, The Young Mothers, while keeping up his European and Chicago connections.
The Chicago Sextet heard here live at Austria's 2011 Jazzfest Saalfelden, is an expansion of Norwegian expat Flaten's Quintet on The Year Of the Boar
(Jazzland, 2008), a transatlantic collective that, in addition to the bassist, including Norwegian violinist Ola Kvernberg
and Chicagoans Jason Adasiewicz
(vibraphone) Jeff Parker
(guitar), Dave Rempis
(saxophone), and Frank Rosaly
Released as an LP (with digital download) in a very limited run of 350, Live at Jazzfest Saalfelden
Opens and closes with two lengthy odysseys that transition from ethereal minimalist improvisations to violin-based progressive rock and full-tilt jazz outbreaks. Flaten orchestrates each, position's parts to make a cogent assemblage. "Virgoan Ways" opens with bowed vibraphone and electronics, before Flaten's electric bass tiptoes in. The introduction of Kvernberg's violin harkens back to the fusion sound of violinist Jean-Luc Ponty
's work in the 1970s/80s, on which the Sextet builds a burglarized sound of Rempis' baritone and Parker's hide-and-seek over the muscular Rosaly. Opening in a duo with Adasiewicz and Flaten (on acoustic bass), "Irrational Ceremony" carries the idea a bit further, opening up to Parker, who strolls over the brawny Rosaly and the entire group's flow. The piece morphs into a funk groove-laden romp, with Rempis roaring on alto as the band elevates the stage.
The two electronic improvisations, "Rosewood Avenue" and "Wells," which end the first side and begin side two, are considerably shorter but not without merit. Both develop a continuation of noisy feedback as the backdrop for first gentle guitar and saxophone, and then an all-out rock meltdown.
Flaten's Chicago Sextet is evidence that just the tip of this Scandinavian turned Texan's iceberg has been discovered.
Virgoan Ways; Rosewood Avenue; Wells; Irrational Ceremony.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: acoustic bass, electric bass, electronics; Jeff Parker: guitar, pedals;
Dave Rempis: reeds; Ola Kvernberg: violin; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Frank Rosaly: