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Nyndk: Nordic Disruption

Woodrow Wilkins By

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One could say they're throwing a tantrum. Five musicians from two continents take a word that describes a personality disorder characterized by a need for attention, and turn it into musical expression. So it begins with NYNDK's "Histrionics," the opening track to the aptly titled Nordic Disruption.

This ensemble derives its name from the homes of some of the players. Trombonist Chris Washburne is from New York, saxophonist Ole Mathisen is from Norway, and pianist Soren Moller is from Denmark. The trio is joined by bassist Per Mathisen and drummer Scott Neumann. NYNDK, formed in 2003, is a collaborative effort bridging artistic elements of New York with those of Scandanavia. Part of their goal is to express the international nature of jazz.

Neumann's drum roll sets off "Histrionics," quickly joined by Washburne and Ole Mathisen, who share the melody before Mathisen takes lead. While the sax, and later the trombone, is out front, the other players are never merely in the background. Neumann works the snare and cymbals with vigor, while Per Mathisen and Moller add their own touch. The piece is a high-energy display of instrumental emotion.

The title song, the shortest track, packs a lot of punch in 3:44. Washburne and Mathisen deliver strong leads, scoring lots of crisp notes in rapid-fire succession. As he does on several tracks, Neumann kicks in a short solo, backed by Moller and Per Mathisen.

"Brooklyn" is perhaps the most straightforward groove among the ten tracks. After the leads, Per Mathisen delivers a subtle acoustic bass solo, punctuated by Neumann and Moller. The piano then takes over as the bass fades into the background, but the drums continue to add emphasis at all the right moments. After a climactic buildup, the song mellows for the leads to return.

Nordic Disruption scores points with originality and tradition. Eight of the tracks were written by members of the group—four by Ole Mathisen, three by Moller and one by Washburne. Throughout, the musicians exhibit a flare for free expression, even on the slower pieces like "Backward Glance" and "Derivative." While the overall sound is old-school jazz, this music is fresh, creative and engaging.

Track Listing: Histrionics; Great Expectations; Backward Glance; Nordic Disruption; Blade Runner; Derivative; Brooklyn; I Hear a Rhapsody; Elefantens Vuggeviser (The Elephant

Personnel: Ole Mathisen: saxophones; Chris Washburne: trombone; Soren Moller: piano; Per Mathisen: bass; Scott Neumann: drums.

Title: Nordic Disruption | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Jazzheads


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