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Which brings us to Norwegian Grammy-winning pianist and composer Wesseltoft's latest for his own Jazzland label. Halfway between the lounge lizard irony of Dimitri from Paris and the lyrical quartet settings of Dave Brubeck or the acoustic Herbie Hancock, Sharing is one of those mould-breaking sets that tend to outlast the vagaries of musical fashion.
Wesseltoft is as much producer and soundscape artist as composer and star of this double CD, and he's shipped in intensely catchy elements from hip-hop, rap, house and acid jazz by the bucketload, sampled his way past artistic oblivion and made it back intact and funky. If you like your music pure, this may not be for you, but if you're convinced by the mongrels are smarter and healthier than pure-breeds argument, this is some argument to lean back on. Sometimes the feel is Jimmy Smith with a bourbon on the B4 next to his hand, sometimes the iceberg cool of Jan Garbarek, or conveying subtle echoes of the biting romanticism of Massive Attack or the intense, percussive texture of Drum 'n' Bass. And sometimes it's like a soothing, seductive Robert Miles (only with balls and a few more ideas).
If you know the adventure ECM's Nils Petter Molvaer has embarked on by interleaving house rhythms and mixing attitudes with his skeletal jazz, Wesseltoft's approach to his own music will strike home as well. It would take an exhaustive run-down of the nine tracks that comprise disc one to convey the shifting horizon of mood, style and setting on Sharing, but I'm convinced.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.