438

Oddjob: Sumo

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Oddjob: Sumo Swedish band Oddjob have been together since 2002, ploughing a melodic and groove-centric furrow built on the electric jazz-fusion of the 1970s, and staying the right side of "ambient" thanks to the brio and creativity which they bring to the music. On Sumo—their fourth album and ACT debut—the band have widened their sights to include funk, rare groove, chill-out and late 1960s psychedelic rock. It's a sonorous and playful mixture which is practically guaranteed to raise the listener's spirits.



Unlike many other retro-fusion bands, Oddjob's explicit debt to trumpeter Miles Davis's electric innovations on Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969) and beyond is slight. Instead, the band's style is shaped by the work of a second generation of experimentalists, some of them—like saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboard players Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul and Herbie Hancock—alumni of Davis's early 1970s bands, who offered a sunnier vibe than Davis's turbulent soundscapes, with less dissonance and fewer dark corners.



A recipe for blissed-out background sounds perhaps, but not when it's cooked by the energetic Oddjob. Driven by the muscular riffs and ostinatos of drummer Janne Robertson and bassist/Moog player Peter Forss, saxophonist Per Johansson and trumpeter Goran Kajfeš's intricate, layered arrangements are the compelling centerpieces of most tracks. Both players are gutsy and expansive, with Kajfes, the chief soloist, eschewing the mute and Johansson favoring rich baritone or tenor over fusion's lighter, keening soprano (which he replaces when called for by mellifluous flutes). Playing around ten different instruments between them and making liberal use of overdubs, Kajfeš and Johansson create a steady flow of arresting textures.



Keyboard player Daniel Karlsson is another delight, whether soloing—which he does with straight-ahead conviction on acoustic piano and with primal funk on Hammond organ—or creating canvases for the horns. On "Painkiller," his rumbling Hammond—equal parts Jimmy Smith and Keith Emerson of The Nice—ratchets up the tension through the seven-minute playing time. On "Golden Silver," inspired by pianist Horace Silver's hard bop, and "Nostradamus," despite its title a bright and cheerful romp with James Brown-derived horns, Karlsson is joined by Stoffe Wallman, a synthesizer player with a background in chill-out but who here reveals a more characterful, foreground talent. Wallman's cartoonish tones on "Nostradamus" are funny and unexpected.



Fun is the prevailing vibe. The slow and elegiac "Like Josef," for Joe Zawinul, may strictly speaking be a dirge, but it's a cheerful dirge, a quiet celebration rather than a funeral march. Sumo is good medicine.


Track Listing: Kingston; The Big Hit; Golden Silver; Sewerside Blues; Smaland; Painkiller; Punch; The Day TV Stood Still; Where Did You Sleep Last Night; Salvador; Like Josef; Nostradamus.

Personnel: Goran Kajfeš: trumpet, cornet, glockenspiel; Per " Ruskträsk" Johansson: saxophones, flutes, clarinet; Daniel Karlsson: piano, organs, vibraphone; Peter Forss: bass, Moog; Janne Robertson: drums, percussion, zither; Stoffe Wallman: synthesizer (3, 12).

Title: Sumo | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ACT Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Folk by Karl Ackermann
  • Folk by Dan McClenaghan
  • JAZZOO by James Pearse
  • Sumo by John Kelman
  • Sumo by Chris May
  • Koyo by Dan McClenaghan
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
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 "An Untroublesome Defencelessness" CD/LP/Track Review An Untroublesome Defencelessness
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Centreline Theory" CD/LP/Track Review Centreline Theory
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017

Smart Advertising!

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