15

Hayden Powell: Roots and Stems

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Hayden Powell: Roots and Stems For those who think the Norwegian jazz scene is all about electronics, sampling and processing (not that there's anything wrong with that), one look at Hayden Powell, born in England but relocated to Norway as a young child, and any such accusations and generalizations are quickly put to rest. A trumpeter on the ascendance with Magic Pocket and the esteemed Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Powell recently replaced Mathias Eick in Finish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla's quintet, and so it's only a matter of time before the trumpeter makes a showing on an ECM recording and garners more international acclaim.

Until then, with the internet making access far easier, his trajectory with TJO and Magic Pocket has been easy to follow, as well as Powell's own recordings, starting with 2011's appealing The Attic (Inner Ear), a sextet date also featuring saxophonist Tore Brunborg, who's gotten a lot of international ink for his work with artists like Manu Katche, Tord Gustavsen and Ketil Bjornstad. Roots and Stems reduces The Attic's sextet to a trio, capitalizing and deepening the chemistry begun on that recording. Rejoined by pianist Eyolf Dale and bassist Jo Skaansar, Powell's decision to eschew a drummer might categorize Roots and Stems as chamber jazz on paper, but it actually swings with a propulsive verve in places that's both a complete and pleasant surprise.

Not that everyone has to swing, nor should a modern young trumpeter like Powell be expected to, growing up in Molde, population 24,000, nestled in the midst of 222 mountains on the huge Molde Fjord. There's not a standard to be found amongst Roots and Stems' 10 original compositions—nine by Powell and one, the majestic closer, "Quiet Exit," by Dale that features a particularly impressive solo from Skaansar. Dale's career has been on an upward trajectory, too, as half of the piano/sax duo Albatrosh, which has been building a reputation from its 2009 debut, Seagull Island (Inner Ear), through to its most recent Yonkers (Rune Grammofon, 2012). Dale also has two solo piano recordings out, both demonstrating him to be a sensitive, intuitive improviser—qualities that render him an ideal partner for Powell, a trumpeter whose tone may be orthodox, but whose approach is all modern.

A lyrical player who can get a little greasy, a little rough-and-tumble when necessary, Powell and his trio mates winds their way through Roots and Stems, ranging from the late night ambience of the balladic title track and more angular, middle eastern-informed complexities of the extended blues form of "Bassclarinetteblues"—driven resolutely by Dale's firm left hand and Skaansar's relentless bass line—to the more ambling "Skysailing," darkly lyrical "Maysong" and a brief a capella miniature, humorously titled "Self-Calibration #3."

Throughout Roots and Stems, there's the sense that this is an album that couldn't have been made anywhere but Norway, and yet bears redolence of at least some aspects of an American tradition long gone global. With little muss or fuss, Powell and his band mates have fashioned an album whose touchstones may be broad, but whose underlying adherence to traditional precepts make Roots and Stems an album with undeniably broad appeal.

Track Listing: Roots and Stones; Bassclarinetteblues; Skysailing; Maysong; Self-Calibratrion #3; Intro; Cuestions; Fougner; Folk; Quiet Exit.

Personnel: Hayden Powell: trumpet; Eyolf Dale: piano; Jo Skaansar: double bass.

Title: Roots and Stems | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Periskop


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Starer" CD/LP/Track Review Starer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Jojje Wadenius (70)" CD/LP/Track Review Jojje Wadenius (70)
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Untitled" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 13, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.