Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

20

Haakon Graf/Erik Smith/ Per Mathisen: Sunrain

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
"Sunrain" is a common Scandinavian weather phenomenon: after weeks of rain, there are often clouds with showers pouring down as the sun peers through the other side. Keyboardist/composer Haakon Graf considers it "a metaphor for the fabric of life, a place between a smile and a tear, like my music..." His trio with drummer Erik Smith and bassist Per Mathisen began performing live in 2011. The liners name them Norway's leading jazz-funk trio, and based on the music here that claim is easy to believe. This is a world-class band with a sound that recalls fusion keyboard-oriented music from artists like Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul (and Weather Report). Sunrain is a live recording with both audio and video (DVD) discs.

Graf plays Yamaha S80 and Motif synthesizers, dual keyboards which allow him to get any sound from acoustic piano to strings and solo synthesizer voices. Smith is both powerful and expressive on the drums. Bassist Mathisen is equally impressive on electric and upright bass, plus an arsenal of electronic effects—there's a shot of his enormous pedal board on the DVD included in this package—providing huge grooves and colorful solos. Memorable moments include the propulsive repeated riff that ends "Herbal Music" (recalling Weather Report); the bass melody and the synthesizer solo that follows on "Paperflowers;" and the dense percussion on the title tune (which definitely sounds like more than one player, in addition to grooving like mad).

The DVD and CD recordings come from different performances, although there is considerable overlap in the set lists. The DVD was live at Olsen Bar Oslo, December 2014, and runs for over 90 minutes. It's a fairly straightforward performance video, mainly focusing on the stage, with a few shots of the club and the audience (and that pedal board close-up). The audio CD was recorded at Olsen Bar Oslo and Buddy Scene Drammen, Norway, in August 2015, and runs almost 70 minutes. All of the performances are characterized by group chemistry, individual virtuosity, and lively music leavened with a bit of humor. Either format is a great way for a fusion fan to spend an hour or so.

Track Listing: CD: Fat Freddy´s Cat; Santa Monica; Thrustin´; Herbal Music; Paperflowers; Sunrain; Funkalectual; Good Groove; My Intentions - Zawisong.
DVD: Santa Monica; Herbal Music; Garfield; Thrustin´; Fat Freddy´s Cat; Romjulsdrøm; Funkalectual Sensitivity; Tickle Me; We Ate; My Intentions; Zawisong; In The Pocket.

Personnel: Haakon Graf: keyboards; Erik Smith: drums; Per Mathisen: bass.

Title: Sunrain | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Losen Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "The Elements" CD/LP/Track Review The Elements
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017
by John Kelman
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "For Free" CD/LP/Track Review For Free
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Monk's Cha Cha" CD/LP/Track Review Monk's Cha Cha
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis" CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "El Bosque Brillante" CD/LP/Track Review El Bosque Brillante
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 7, 2017