All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

374

Bevort - Schmidt: Playground + 1

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Playground + 1 is an apt name for this impressive release by this Danish quartet led by saxophonist/vocalist Pernille Bevort and pianist Marie Louis Schmidt, as in many ways a playground bears analogy to a jazz group. In both, freedom exists within boundaries and individual expression thrives within a group identity. There is a collective dependency and there are elements of idiosyncratic behaviour, moments of calm reflection, and, in the midst of the general harmony, there are occasional clashes. In the final analysis though, many voices sound as one.

It would be wrong to infer from the title that that this music is somehow frivolous or lacks control, for the arrangements are tight and discipline is key to the album's success—there is no excess fat on these original-sounding tunes and the solos, while free-spirited, are measured, like brief side roads on a longer journey The melodies and harmonies that exist within the phrasing are where the emphasis lies.

The cut and thrust between Pernille and guest saxophonist Jan Harbeck is at the heart of the material. On the opener, "Mr. Gumbob," the two tenors weave in and out of each other's slipstream as if in a highly animated conversation, propelled by the dynamic rhythm provided by drummer Karsten Bagge and bassist Thomas Vang. The combination of two saxophones or saxophone and bass clarinet produces nice, angular lines in addition to arresting harmonies, and this is seen to good effect on the Schmidt-penned number "Og Aligevel," with its slightly free-jazz vibe.

When she steps out alone, Pernille shows herself to be a highly accomplished player, replete with ideas, as on "Mixed Double." On the seductive slow number ""Simmering Anxiety," she displays a lyrical story-telling logic reminiscent of Wayne Shorter, though her voice is very much her own. On this latter tune, Schmidt'unhurried right-hand solo lights up the tune and draws the two saxophones into her spell. Schmidt's undemonstrative grooves at times suggest the swinging simplicity of Count Basie, and she has a lovely funky, bluesy approach to boot. The spirit of Thelonious Monk is very present in Schmidt's compositions, particularly in the quirky intros to "Fleun" and that of "Cowboys and Girls," the latter tune being one of the highlights of the album.

There are two vocal tracks, the kooky yet captivating "Cat Club Kittens" and the reggae-influenced "Mashed Potatoes," with an easy vibe and a lithe tenor solo from Harbeck. The lyrics are jocular, and while Bevort's voice is not especially noteworthy, her delivery is great and the lilt and cadences of her voice are horn-like, which is not entirely surprising.

The imaginative phrasing, layers of harmony, and the symmetry of the instruments suggests that this music would translate very well to a big band setting. Pernille and Schmidt have absorbed the lessons of Monk, Bill Evans, Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter and distilled the finer points to produce personal-sounding music which draws from tradition but which swings in the present. Well worth checking out.


Track Listing: Mr. Gumbob; Dancing with the Cuckoos; Og Alligevel; Mixed Doubles; Simmering Anxiety part 1; Simmering Anxiety part 2; Cat Club Kittens; Mashed Potatoes; Fluen; 12 Tone Blues; Cowboys and Girls.

Personnel: Pernille Bevort: tenor and soprano saxophones, vocals (7, 8); Marie Louise Schmidt: piano and Rhodes; Thomas Vang: double bass; Karsten Bagge:drums; Jan Harbeck: tenor saxophone and bass clarinet.

Title: Playground + 1 | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Calibrated

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Which Craft?

Which Craft?

Gateway Music
2016

buy
Trio Temptations

Trio Temptations

Gateway Music
2014

buy
Radio Bevort with Marcelo Nisinman: Perfect Organization

Radio Bevort with...

Gateway Music
2011

buy
Playground + 1

Playground + 1

Calibrated
2008

buy
Radio Bévort

Radio Bévort

Calibrated
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Resonance" CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "No Matter Where Noir" CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Hotel California: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "Legacy: Neil Slater at North Texas" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: Neil Slater at North Texas
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2017