All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Magnus Ostrom at Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Ireland

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Magnus Öström
Solstice Arts Centre
Navan, Ireland
September 20, 2013

That Magnus Öström's quartet made it to Navan at all was good going given that the band's previous gig had been on a Scottish island boasting no fewer than eight whisky distilleries. The Scottish—as the quartet discovered—take their whisky and their hospitality seriously. That gig was part of the three-day Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival, one of a growing number of jazz festivals popping up throughout the British Isles. From Islay, Öström hopped over the Irish Sea for two lower key gigs in Navan and Carrick-on-Shannon. For these towns it surely represented something of a coup to entice the Swedish drumming legend away from potentially higher profile gigs in Dublin or Cork.

Öström was promoting Searching for Jupiter (ACT Records, 2013), his second recording as leader since the sad demise of e.s.t. following the accidental death of pianist Esbjorn Svensson in 2008. Öström, Svensson and bassist Dan Berglund had reinvented the piano trio in a fifteen year career that took the jazz world by storm and it was hardly surprising given the intensity and the duration of that trio's musical relationship that some of e.s.t's DNA occasionally colored the drummer's compositions.

In the main, however, the music displayed Öström's personal seal, with guitarist Andreas Hourdakis and Thobias Gabrielsen on electric bass/bass synthesizer and pianist/keyboard player Daniel Karlsson bringing an art rock aesthetic to the equation. In sparse, delicate compositions like the show opener "The Moon (And the Air it Moves)," the emphasis on melodic contour and shifting sound dynamics over virtuosity evoked Serbian alt rock band Eyot much more than e.s.t. On the bouncing rocker "Dancing at the Dutchtreat," built upon Gabrilesen's clawing riff, a jaunty piano motif and Öström's effervescence, Hourdakis stretched out, though his biting, sinewy solo was unwaveringly melodic.


The ballad "Mary Jane Doesn't Live Here Anymore" showcased pianist Karlsson, whose gently cascading runs carried this lyrical piece from start to finish. The episodic "Searching for Jupiter" switched from melodic head followed by tight unison lines, to a jazzier piano-led freedom underpinned by driving bass and drums of some intensity—an irresistible slice of modern prog-rock. Minimalism and power combined on first set closer "Hour of the Wolf"; Öström's repeating patterns and insistent piano and bass ostinatos created an unrelenting tension from the get go, with Hourdakis's greater freedom providing striking contrast.

The second set began with "Through the Sun"; a poppish melodicism soon gave way to an improvised section with bass at the center. From the quieter mid-section, Hourdakis' fluid solo inspired a growing group momentum and eventual return to the sunny opening melody. Understated church organ introduced the aching lyricism of "Weight of Death" from Öström's critically acclaimed debut Thread of Life. The leader's dynamism on brushes signaled a highly charged quartet segment that bristled with collective energy and formed a bridge between the previous song and "Happy on the Fall," a jaunty number that Karlsson steered from honky tonk blues to a more contemporary space.

On "Song for E," Öström's heartfelt tribute to Svensson, Hourdakis reprised the role that guitarist Pat Metheny played on Thread of Life. Svensson's spirit was also present in the closing number, "At the End of Eternity," an anthemic charger that featured a thrilling solo from the leader. It also served as a reminder of how much a part of the e.s.t. sound Öström always was.

Earlier, Öström had explained the genesis of "Happy on the Fall": "It's a little bit about my son when he was two years old or something; he keeps running around and falling but he's very good at getting up again and running again. I've learned a lot from him, actually." The sense of loss at Svensson's death will always remain, but Öström, leading a strong band, has clearly picked himself up and channeled a deep source of creative energy that has plenty of legs to run yet.

Photo Credits
Enda Casey, Gasun Photography

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Jon Faddis at The Wheel" Live Reviews Jon Faddis at The Wheel
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Nnenna Freelan With The Charleston Jazz Orchestra at Charleston Music Hall" Live Reviews Nnenna Freelan With The Charleston Jazz Orchestra at...
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 24, 2018
Read "WAR with Malo At Stern Grove" Live Reviews WAR with Malo At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Pat Martino at Dazzle" Live Reviews Pat Martino at Dazzle
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: September 2, 2017