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Mikkel Ploug has been slowly, but surely, building a reputation for himself, and deservedly so. His live performances speak for themselves. This recording opens the door to his skills as a composer even while showcasing his considerable talent as a guitarist.
Ploug's writing has depth. His ear for melody is astute and he brings in different styles to lure the listener. As a guitarist, he paints a deep sonic canvas. His notes are robust and rounded, fleet in their dispensation yet enunciated with care and emphasis. He brings this in emphatically on "Big City Walk. After he has established a translucent space with a light melodic air, he bites down, charging the melody with an electrifying grace. He has the perfect cohort in Mark Turner (tenor saxophone). Turner gives the tune a warm glow as he navigates the melody and then fills it with interesting changes as he ups the tempo and shoots rapid lines.
First Song, a gentle ballad, has Turner investigating the melody with deliberation. His is an eloquent voice. Ploug lies below the line of the tenor saxophone, content to voice complementary chords. His solo is soaked in melodic lyricism and with Sean Carpio adding light flexes on his drums, this turns into a topnotch tune. Jeppe Skovbakke (bass) sets up a funky beat on "Logicunlogic. The up-tempo tune has Turner looping the melody and then punching it with innovative lines. Ploug slows down the tempo and then pushes it with his harmonics to lend a different hue with Carpio at the bottom of it all, his rhythm spry and right in the groove.
Ploug is an interesting new voice and one to watch.
Track Listing: Four!; Big City Walk; Turners Odysseys; Breakfast Special; First Song; 21. Century Folk song; Logicunlogic; The
Vodka is on the Bottom; Play it to the Ground.
Personnel: Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Mikkel Ploug: guitar; Jeppe Skovbakke: double bass; Sean Carpio: drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.