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Danish reed player Aske Drasbæk, member of the contemporary Danish jazz quartet Orpheus and Det ny bigband, began to play the baritone saxophone only three years ago. It happened after he discovered the music of Lars Gullin by accident and immediately fell in love with the great Swedish baritone saxophonist's full, round sound. A year later, Drasbæk bought an old baritone sax and began practicing the big horn in attempt to find his own sound and explore its possibilities.
Drasbæk debut album as a leader feature him fronting a quintet, playing the big horn for the first time, in part paying tribute to the influential Gullin legacy of the the cool jazz of the early fifties, but more totally rooted in modern jazz. This quintet manages to form a cohesive, warm sound that successfully translating the Gullin sonic universe into an updated and lyrical Nordic context.
The quintet contrast the leisured, melodic lines of the baritone sax with the more spiky and serpentine lines of guitarists Per Møllehøj and Soren Dahl Jeppesen, all relying on the solid rhythm section of Finnish bassist Tapani Toivanen and drummer Andreas Fryland. There are few variations, as on "A-Major," where the guitarists suggest an atmospheric soundscape to Drasbæk's simple chord changes. "Moraes," after a character borrowed from Salman Rushdie's book The Moor's Last Sigh, features Drasbæk as a gifted storyteller, while "1771" presents the quintet swinging in a tight rhythmic module. "Improballad" explores the harmonic possibilities in matching the gentle, deep sounds of the baritone sax with soft, breezy sound of the guitars. The title tune, an old school jazz standard, was the first composition that Drasbæk wrote after buying the baritone sax, soulfully recapturing the essence of Gullin's sound.
A promising debut..
Track Listing: ConnProj; A-Major; Moraes; Dead End; 1771; Improballad; Trainsurfing; Old Ghost.
Personnel: Per Møllehøj: guitar; Søren Dahl: guitar; Tapani Toivanen: bass; Andreas Fryland:
drums; Aske Drasbæk: baritone saxophone.