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Opsvik, Tone Collector & Wallumrd: Unlike What You Normally Hear

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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Eivind Opsvik
Overseas II
Fresh Sound New Talent

Overseas II broadens the documentation of the New York growth of the music by bassist Eivind Opsvik away from his native Norway. He writes present-day jazz material unlike anything else in the market.

"Stranded starts with a roomy bass lead heavily sprinkled by Kenny Wollesen's drumming with piano sparkles by Jacob Sacks. Tony Malaby plays a dissonant and polydirectional tenor sax solo that increases in intensity, Craig Taborn's similar type of statement on the Wurlitzer acting as as a form of coda. This is but one example of the intense-yet-relaxed type of writing in this record. "Planned Future is deceptively sweet because of the simple celeste undertow from which drummer Jeff Davis, Malaby and Opsvik take off in uncelestial flights, blurring notions of ensemble and solo performance.

Tone Collector
Tone Collector
Jazzaway Records

Jeff Davis, Tony Malaby, and Eivind Opsvik also make up a new trio, Tone Collector, which performed last month at Cornelia Street Café in support of its new record recorded live at the Glen Miller Café last summer during two performances in Stockholm. The ensuing improvisations were well recorded and issued by the new Norwegian label Jazzaway that concentrates in "jazz with a rock aesthetic. Tone Collector's musical work here disregards genres, however, as it is neither rockish nor Opsvikian as described above.

"Swedish Summer, a slow-moving arco infused theme, shows Malaby's impressive breathing technique, taking the sax sound out of its common sonic range with scant notes and superb conceptual control while expounding poly-emotive coloring, as Opsvik also does in the closer with the bass. Through all performances, however, the players abandon conventionality and assail each piece exploring what each respective player, instrument and sonority can contribute to their task. A challenging record indeed.

Christian Wallumrød Ensemble
A Year From Easter
ECM Records

The Christian Wallumrød Ensemble is a Norwegian quartet with another singular musical offering. The leader and Nils Økland play several keyboards and stringed instruments, respectively; they are joined by drummer Per Oddvar Johansen and trumpeter Arve Henriksen. A Year From Easter features learned and intriguing compositions that would be thoroughly diminished by classification and source dissection. Henriksen does a remarkable impersonation of a flutist with his trumpet and the drummer manages to swirl percussion as colorful oily paint both revealing and shading multiple hues; this quartet stays within mid and low tonal ranges in their textural, rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic makeup. "Japanese Choral is a delicate sonic ambiance portraiture. "Stompin' At Gagarin has Wallumrød alone improvising over a lingering left hand march that is a model of profound simplicity.

Tracks and Personnel

Overseas II

Tracks: Planned Future; Maritime Safety; Peacetime; Craig plays Celeste; Tilt of Timber; Escapades; Still the Tiger Town; Stranded; Jacob plays Celeste; Ah! Aground Again; Kapp det Gode Håp.

Personnel: Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Loren Stillman: alto saxophone (3,5); Jacob Sacks: piano, celeste, wurlitzer (2,4,7,8,11); Craig Taborn: organ, celeste, wurlitzer; Kenny Wollesen: drums (2,5,7,8); Jeff Davis: drums (1,3,10); Eivind Opsvik: bass.

Tone Collector

Tracks: Never Removed From Box; Swedish Summer; Matchbox; Waltz; Waltz Coda; Glorious; Shelf/Regular Model; Mint No Box.

Personnel: Eivind Opsvik: bass; Jeff Davis: drums; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone.

A Year From Easter

Tracks: Arch Song; Eliasong; Stompin' At Gagarin; Wedding Postponed; Psalm; Unisono; Lichtblick; Horseshoe Waltz; A Year From Easter; Japanese Choral; Sketch 12; Eliasong II; Neunacht; Two Years From Easter.

Personnel: Per Oddvar Johansen: drums; Christian Wallumrød: piano, harmonium, toy piano; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Nils Økland: violin, Hardanger fiddle, viola d'amore.


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