Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

449

Trygve Seim: Sangam

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Sangam , or "confluence" in Sanskrit, is sometimes interpreted as "the meeting point of three rivers," an appropriate title for young Norwegian saxophonist/composer Trygve Seim's second album as a leader, where he comfortably and seamlessly blends elements of jazz, contemporary composition, and various folk traditions. It's also a fitting reference to Different Rivers (ECM, '00), a much-lauded d?but recording that introduced Seim to a broader international audience and is a clear antecedent. Lastly, it also works as a pointer to the three primary voices on Sangam —Seim, the rapidly-becoming-ubiquitous trumpeter Arve Henriksen, and clarinetist Håvard Lund.

Listeners looking for any strict relationship to the North American jazz tradition, however, will find that Seim's reference points are far broader and more influenced by earlier ECM recordings, including Jan Garbarek's Eventyr and, more importantly, the liberated muse of the late composer/drummer Edward Vesala. In fact, if there is any precedent for Seim's work, it is in that of Vesala, with whom Seim worked intermittently before his untimely death at the age of 54 in '99. Although more consistently contemplative than his counterpart, Seim demonstrates a similar penchant for intriguing instrumental combinations—on Sangam , in addition to the three primary voices already identified, Seim brings together bass saxophone, French horn, tuba, accordion, cello, and drums to create a rich and distinctive sound that is more about smooth surfaces and rounded edges.

Seim's compositions are almost painfully beautiful. The title track begins with Lund's clarinet in apparent free-flow, although Seim's melodies are so esoteric and long-form as to sometimes blur the line between improvisation and structure. But Lund's phrases and Henriksen's subsequent shakuhachi-like expressions act as gentle catalysts for the ensemble, which creates lush-long tone washes over which the principle soloist can then soar. "Beginning" may have a stated rhythm, but it is no less subtle and evocative. Henriksen's almost naïve theme is melancholic, supported by close voicings and a simple set of changes which Seim broadens through constantly shifting harmonies, intertwining lines that converge and digress with tender lyricism. And when, midway through the piece, Henrkisen solos with his breath-like tone and the ensemble gradually raises the dynamics. But as dramatic as the piece ultimately becomes, it never loses its innate poignancy and sense of calm.

Adding two trombones and a string ensemble to the mix, the four part "Himmelrand i Tidevand" suite may be Seim's most ambitious score to date. Seim manages to take instruments normally considered brash, creating an uncanny sense of tranquility on "Part I." In fact, if there's any singular description of Seim's music, it's that of peace and harmony; but a multitude of possibilities clearly dwell within that space.

Seim's own playing, ethereal yet grounded, is but one voice in this remarkable ensemble where he emphasizes colour, texture and melody over stark technical display. As auspicious a d?but as Different Rivers was, Sangam further develops Seim's singular conception. This one should rightfully find itself on many of this year's top ten lists.


Track Listing: Sangam; Dansante; Beginning; Himmerland i Tidevand - Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV - Trio; Prayer.

Personnel: Trygve Seim: tenor and soprano saxophone; Håvard Lund: clarinet, bass clarinet; Nils Jansen: bass saxophone, contrabass clarinet; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Tone Reichelt: French horn; Lars Andreas Haug: tuba; Frode Haltli: accordion; Morten Hannisdal: cello; Per Oddvar Johansen: drums; Øyvind Brække: trombone (4); Helge Sunde: trombone (4); String Ensemble with Christian Eggen conducting (4).

Title: Sangam | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "The Child in Me" CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Jondo" CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Slow Learner" CD/LP/Track Review Slow Learner
by John Sharpe
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "Morphometry" CD/LP/Track Review Morphometry
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 17, 2017

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!