132

Rissanen, Trimble, Calderazzo, Savolainen: Nordic Project

Matthew Wuethrich By

Sign in to view read count
Rissanen, Trimble, Calderazzo, Savolainen: Nordic Project Nordic Project emerged from the friendship between Finnish trombonist Antti Rissanen and American bassist Ted Trimble. It was recorded in 2002, during a trip Trimble and drummer Gene Calderazzo made to Finland. With veteran Finnish pianist Jarmo Savolainen, they recorded the album’s eleven original compositions in single takes. The pieces, therefore, emit a bubbling freshness and relaxed pleasure, musicians playing for their own enjoyment, hoping it rubs off on the listener.

The album showcases the compositions, most of which come from Trimble and Rissanen, which makes the solos economic studies in harmonic exploration. Most are swinging, up-tempo, modernist takes on bebop, with knotty chord sequences, crafty head melodies, rapid group dialogues, and even some wry humor. Calderazzo and Savolainen play a supporting role here, but it is an active one. Savolainen feeds in bright, complex chords and adorns Rissanen’s elegantly patient solos with rich counter melodies. Calderazzo never wavers in his rhythmic pulse, showing a feathery, yet propulsive touch on the ride and swift snare fills.

Trimble and Rissanen both possess a masterful technique. Trimble’s ”Bass Melody” slithers on a simmering sway from Calderazzo, as Trimble first puts down a thick groove, then unleashes a barrage of melodic phrases, and finally makes a unison melody statement on arco with Rissanen. From there Rissanen gradually builds a solo that plaintive solo that weaves in and out of the shifting rhythm, his articulation sharp and clear.

The two also display versatile composing styles. Rissanen’s “Eaglets Lament” is a slow-burn ballad with a mournful theme, whereas “Wondering” swings brightly, with some clever stop time arrangements in the head. His “Spaced” reaches for more abstract territory. Trimble also tries his hand at exuberant and introspective styles. “Unity” is vintage late-'50s hard bop, while “Troll Bridge” broods darkly, giving Savolainen space to stretch out delicate pearls of notes behind Rissanen’s growls and smudges.

Each quartet member is also an educator, and Rissanen has done extensive research on trombone technique. This might be why the music feels scholarly and intellectual at times, and lacking in earthy punch. Rissanen’s ”Changes to Come,” with its jaunty melody and his athletic solo comes across as generic bebop, albeit with moments of comping flare from Savolainen. In contrast, Savolainen’s ”Mood Swings” rides Trimble’s funky bass vamp, and the melody sounds like an update of Eddie Harris’ ”Freedom Jazz Dance.”

Nordic Project is like a loving valentine from the quartet to the music. They revel in the space a quartet provides, yet show an abiding respect for, and a mastery of, some of jazz’s traditional elements: robust chord progressions, simple melodies, tight solos and swinging, elastic pulses. There may not be many surprises on the record, but its quality is undeniable.

Visit Antti Rissanen , Ted Trimble , and Munich Records on the web.


Track Listing: 1.Delusions 2.Bass Melody 3.Mood Swings 4.Eaglets Lament 5.Wondering 6.Unity 7.Changes to Come 8.Scars 9.Troll Bridge 10.Spaced 11.Look Who

Personnel: Antti Rissanen: trombone; Ted Trimble: bass; Jarmo Savolainen: piano; Gene Calderazzo: drums

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Munich Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Forest Grove" CD/LP/Track Review Forest Grove
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Forty" CD/LP/Track Review Forty
by James Nadal
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "The Big Shake-Up" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Shake-Up
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!