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Bruno Raberg: Look Inside

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Bruno Raberg: Look Inside
As Meghan Trainor would have us believe, "It's All About That Bass," and that is certainly the case here. Bass virtuoso Bruno Råberg brings us Look Inside, a solo acoustic bass album. It might be his first unaccompanied release, but it has been coming for the best part of half a century. He has been an in-demand collaborator for artists of the caliber of Kris Davis, Mike Mainieri, Bobo Stenson and Terri Lyne Carrington. He has also released a dozen albums as a leader. Over the course of his career, he has explored African and Indian folk music, free-jazz and classical. It is that wide-ranging wealth of experience that he brings to bear here.

The bassist's role in a jazz group is frequently determined by their relationship with their fellow musicians, usually acting as the rhythm keeper and keeping the impetus flowing. The collaborative nature of that role can mean less room for individual improvisation and often less chance for expanded solos. This has meant that Råberg has rarely performed on his own. Consequently, considerable thought and experimentation have gone into this new venture.

The album opener is "Island Pathways," a gentle series of brief motifs (or islands) connected with improvisations. Råberg's African influences come to the fore on "Kansala." Here, he effectively bends the sound of his bass to evoke African rhythms and the sound of the African thumb piano, before merging into an interpretation of Miles Davis' "Nardis." Råberg takes up his bow for "Chennai Reminiscence," based on a South Indian classical composition. The bow is manipulated to bring descending quivering rhythms to the fore. "A Minor Excursion" and "June Poem" are both short eloquent interludes that bring a reflective classical chamber feel.

Råberg was influenced in his early years by the Sunday at the Village Vanguard album by the Bill Evans Trio (Riverside, 1961). The second track of which is George Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now" which is given a new perspective here. The tune lends itself well to the soulful and lightly swinging solo bass and finishes with an elegant rallentando. His playing agility and rhythmic sense are also shown on the other cover here, Duke Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss." "Ode to Spring" is a lively piece reminiscent of an English folk tune and shows the bass off at its lightest and most lyrical. "Gyrating Spheres" utilises arco, pizzicato and rapping on the bass body to create different sounds on the instrument making for an interesting variation.

Solo acoustic bass albums are relatively rare. They require the skill of a seasoned and sophisticated veteran to communicate with an audience outside of bass aficionados or students. This has largely been achieved here, and the care with which this introspective and highly personal album has been approached is clear. This solo album is a long-held aspiration and serves as a career highlight.

Track Listing

Island Pathways; Kansala - Nardis; Chennai Reminiscence; A Minor Excursion; Prelude to a Kiss; Gyrating Spheres; A Space Between; June Poem; My Man's Gone Now; Ode to Spring; Stillness - Epilogue.

Personnel

Bruno Raberg
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Look Inside | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Orbis Music


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