Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Cortex: Live in New York

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Cortex"

Do you remember when you first heard Ornette Coleman's The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic, 1959)? It could have been fifty years ago or five, but its life force remains. Its music was/is nearly impossible to ignore. The same can be said of the Norwegian quartet Cortex's Live In New York. It sizzles with a barely contained energy, one that has yet to be harnessed or become world-weary.

This release is their fourth and the second for Clean Feed, a follow up to Live! (2014). This live aspect magnifies the electricity of this quartet of trumpeter Thomas Johansson, saxophonist Kristoffer Alberts, bassist Ola Høyer, and drummer Gard Nilssen. Johansson is a member of Paal Nilssen-Love's Large Unit, and he released the powerful trio disc Revolution Before Lunch (Tammtz Records) earlier this year. Alberts' saxophone can be heard in the free jazz trio Saka and in Starlite Motel with Nilssen, whose recording Firehouse (Clean Feed) made many a "best of 2015" lists.

It is, though, bassist Ola Høyer, who anchors this recording. Much as Charlie Haden did for Coleman, William Parker for Roy Campbell's Other Dimensions in Music, or Fred Hopkins for Charles Brackeen's quartet.

The three tracks occupy just 35-minutes of music. Think of it in terms of an LP. "Higgs" and "Fall," at approximately eight and seven minutes in length would occupy Side A and the twenty-plus minute "Ghost March/Ahead," Side B. The music here is so strong, perhaps a longer recording would have to include an intermission.

"Higgs" features Johansson's trumpet workout with bass and (?) drums in full flight. The texture here is that of Dave Douglas' work in John Zorn's Masada. Equal parts hard-bop, post-bop and advanced trumpet technique. The urgency of "Fall" features Alberts' fine channeling of Eric Dolphy and the ever accelerating drums of Nilssen. This is boiling point music at its best.

The final track "Ghost March/Ahead" is, as they say, an epic work of staggering genius. There is no excess fat to trim from this twenty minutes. Solos are compressed, intense and concise. Muted trumpet to open bell, harmony gives way to extended technique, time slows then speeds and the band plays on.

Track Listing: Higgs; Fall; Ghost March/Ahead.

Personnel: Thomas Johansson: trumpet; Kristoffer Alberts: saxophones; Ola Høyer: double bass; Gard Nilssen: drums.

Title: Live in New York | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Poetry from the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry from the Future
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon" CD/LP/Track Review Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "After The Rain" CD/LP/Track Review After The Rain
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Form" CD/LP/Track Review Form
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!