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Joel Palsson: Prim

C. Michael Bailey By

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Palsson on Naxos Jazz. First released on the Icelandic label Jazzis, Prim was the recording debut of conservatory-trained saxophonist Joel Palsson. I reviewed that release in the April 1999 edition of AAJ. After having reviewed this disc, I had contacted Mr. Palsson and put him in touch with the people at Naxos Jazz. Naxos Jazz has concentrated on recording many Scandinavian jazz groups and the music Joel Palsson was making seemed in keeping with the Naxos Jazz philosophy. This is the result of that union. In my original review, I described Mr. Palsson’s tone and performance as “friendly”. It remains so on this later listening. Palsson is a very sophisticated performer and composer deserving of a wide recognition. I have little to add to my previous review except to restate it:

ï” Did Someone Say Chops?. Palsson has got a friendly tone and performance approach whether he is playing (or composing) a complex Post Bop Head ("Urgur" ["Grump"], Lïgmarks vesen ["No Fuzz"]), a 3/4 ballad ("Hagar-Sund" ["Bus 4"]), straight ballad (Flïs vid rass ["Snug], 7undi himinn ["7th Heaven"]) or the disc's lone blues (Hland fyrir hjartaï ["Matter of Heart"]). There is nothing straight-ahead stylistically about this disc. The music is all very angular and inventive and very enjoyable listening.

Pïlsson's band is very good also. Highlight players are pianist Eyþïr Gunnarsson and guitarist Hilmar Jensson. The capable Gunnlaugur Gudmunïsson on bass and Einar Scheving and Mattïas Hemstock on drums provide his underpinning. The highlights of the disc for me were the upbeat "GISP!" (GASP) and the driving "Skriplaï ï skïtum" (Slippery Slope). I found all of the performances to be top notch and very listenable. Palsson would be a perfect addition to the Naxos Jazz stables with that label's interest in Scandinavian and other Northern European Jazz. An Icelandic Contingency would be a perfect fitï”


Track Listing: Urgur (Grump); Hagar-Sund (Bus 4); Fl?s vi? rass (Snug); L?gmarks vesen (No Fuzz); 7undi himinn (7th Heaven); Hland fyrir hjarta? (Matter of Heart); GISP! (GASP!); Skripla? ? sk?tum (Slippery Slope); Bak

Personnel: Joel Palsson: Tenor and Soprano Saxophones; Hilmar Jensson: Guitar; Ey

Title: Prim | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Naxos

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