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As the marketing info implies, this Scandinavian quartet summons remembrances of the Ornette Coleman ensemble featuring Don Cherry performing on cornet. Yet by no means are these gentlemen copycats. Hence, each composition imparts a different story, whether the artists are melding an open-air sound with bursting breakouts and idiosyncratic intonations or generating aggressive free-form escapades on these compositions by cornetist Thomas Johansson. Other than some loosely designed Ornette inferences, these works come at you from a myriad of sharp angles, where modern jazz is uniformly merged with an avant jazz warpath. With patchy movements, bustling bop and Latin cadences, the quartet's agility, controlled power and sparky soloing jaunts maintain gobs of interest.
The frontline kick starts "Hub" with a sense of urgency patterned by Johansson's brash lines and shrewdly counterbalanced by Kristoffer Albert's boogying baritone sax notes, paired with the rhythm section's lofty Latin groove. Moving forward, the musicians incorporate a mesmeric sequence of choruses via intense dialogues and let it all hang out as drummer Gard Nilssen and bassist Ola Hayer permeate a resilient structural component that conjures imagery of a super-speed military tank plunging across enemy lines. As the artists' counterpoising of memorable progressive jazz-like movements with either brief or extended sojourns into parts unknown induce one cleverly formulated revelation after another.
Personnel: Thomas Johansson: cornet; Kristoffer Alberts: reeds; Ola Hoyer: double bass; Gard Nilssen: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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