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Kasper Tom 5: Ost Bingo Skruer

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Danish drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen is one of the most interesting composers in the vibrant Danish jazz scene. As many other like-minded composers in this scene, he does not bind himself to the jazz legacy. His distinct musical personality references elements of contemporary music, and free improvisation. His compositions often bend catchy melodies into complex structures, while playing with seriousness. He challenges with odd segments and constantly attempts to push the boundaries without forgetting formative legacies.

His quintet assembles musicians from the European jazz scene, all with strong individuality and artistic identity—German bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall, who also plays in Christiansen FUSK quartet (Super Kasper, WhyPlayJazz, 2013), Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, with whom Christiansen collaborated in the Hunger Pangs trio (Meet Meat, For Tune, 2013), and Danish trombonist Petter Severin Hängsel, member of the Swedish sextet Perssons Sexa and bassist Jens Mikkel Madsen, member of the Danish trio Elliott.

Christiansens' wise and playful compositions for this quintet debut challenge the front line of Mahall, Dąbrowski and Hängsel and offer each of them the freedom to articulate and improvise within looser, improvised frameworks and complex, tighter arrangements. All three have a mature and highly personal sound— Mahall is more exploratory and searching while Dąbrowski and Hängsel offer more melodic and conversational options. These conflicting approaches are featured on the open-ended improvisations "Butt Crack Blues," "Tesknoty" and "All the Time; Everybody," backed by a subtle rhythmic basis. The quintet structures tense contrapuntal interplay on these pieces, employing varied extended techniques that stress their distinct sonic qualities and colors.

On "Habt Ihr Lust Auf Ein Dreier?" the frequent changes between fractured and tight rhythmic concepts push all members of the quintet to embark with steaming solos. "Everybody Loves Calypso" blossoms patiently from a loose interplay into a dense and powerful one, enjoying the driving pulse of Christiansen and Madsen. The last piece,"Parat Krabat," is the only one that follows a conventional structure with a strong theme, still pushes this structure to its limit.

Impressive performances of demanding and challenging compositions.

Track Listing: Döner macht schöner; Butt Crack Blues; Habt Ihr Lust Auf Ein Dreier?; Tesknoty; Kusk; Everything, All the Time; Everybody Loves Calypso; Sowieso; Ost Bingo Skruer; Parat Krabat.

Personnel: Rudi Mahall: bass clarinet; Tomasz Dąbrowski: trumpet; Petter Severin Hängsel: trombone; Jens Mikkel Madsen: bass; Kasper Tom Christiansen: drums.

Title: Ost Bingo Skruer | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Barefoot Records

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