313

Pasborg's Odessa 5 Blasts Helsinki

Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count

Pasborg's Odessa 5
Rytmihairioklubi at Juttutupa Bar, Helsinki
October 1, 2008



Stefan Pasborg is yet another Nordic artist gradually raising his profile across international borders as he leads his new five-piece outfit around Europe this autumn. Started on his career with a gift of drums to the then 3-year-old boy from Godfather and celebrated fellow Danish drummer Alex Riel, Pasborg progressed rapidly on the instrument, lately starting the ensemble Odessa 5 to exploit the textures of a truly brassy instrumentation. The band playing in Helsinki on October 1 included the local saxophonist Mikko Innanen, a Pasborg favorite as well as a stalwart of many young Finnish free- and experimental ensembles in his home country. But despite Innanen's stellar contributions, the program was largely a Danish affair (though the term Viking springs more readily to mind).



That designation was indeed the title of the encore ending an evening of sometimes raucous, sometimes rare pieces from this exciting young band. Unlike the band's eponymous album released this autumn and using trombone and cornet, the evening was dominated by the three saxophones of Innanen, original member Anders Banke, and Pasborg's old collaborator: Lithuanian Liudas Mockūnas. With all members repeatedly switching from tenor to either soprano or baritone the sonic textures ranged from unison onslaught to delicate woodwind harmonies. Most pieces exploited the players' individual virtuosity, but in principle the writing for the group emphasized collectivity rather than individuality. With Pasborg's soloing disposed of with the opening piece, the program flowed between experimental and classic reed-based inventiveness. Hints of Klezmer and nods to New Orleans reappeared frequently amidst the turmoil of rhythms and riffs, as well as a 12-minute medley of Ornette Coleman tunes and a piece by Julius Hemphill, always knitted tightly by Pasborg's strong drumming.



For visual impact and for extreme virtuosity in the lower registers, all laurels must go to bassist Jakob Munck—performing the role not on tuba but on surely the rarest of modern jazz instruments, the sousaphone. The most visibly outfitted Viking in the band, Munck dominated the back stage with a combination of tousled red hair, coils of tarnished and battered brass, and an outpouring of mellifluous lines. With its very directional sound (and unmistakable visual impact) the instrument demands attention, which it received from a highly appreciative audience—though again it's noteworthy that the instrumentalist's musical role was always subordinate to a collective, collaborative result.  In fact, the mellowness of blown bass lines worked exquisitely with the lower registers of the saxophones, and to the vibrancy of the animated independent saxophone lines it added a haunting, deeply spacey feeling.  Odessa—a name that to film buffs evokes Eisenstein's mind-blowing The Battleship Potemkin.  As an explosive musical group, Odessa 5 is certainly a band to be blown away by.


Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ
by David Becker
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Jazzkaar 2016" Live Reviews Jazzkaar 2016
by Martin Longley
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2016
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: July 8, 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!