Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

566

Mathias Eick: The Door

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Not yet 30, Mathias Eick has racked up an impressive number of appearances on ECM, including guitarist Jacob Young's Evening Falls (2004) and Sideways (2008), drummer Manu Katché's Playground (2007) and pianist/harpist Iro Haarla's outstanding Northbound (2005). But that's only the tip of the iceberg, with the Norwegian trumpeter appearing on over fifty albums ranging from jazz to flat-out rock and roll. So while some musicians his age aren't yet ready to fly solo, Eick has more than paid his dues, a fact made abundantly clear on The Door.

Assembling a group familiar to fans of ECM and Norwegian labels including Jazzland and Rune Grammofon, Eick's debut as a leader is remarkable for its avoidance of technology, a defining aesthetic for so many of his musical peers. Audun Erlien may use an electric bass, and pianist Jon Balke augments his experimentation inside the body of the grand piano with occasional use of Fender Rhodes, but The Door avoids any kind of processing—real-time or post-production—and there's no sign of Pro Tools being used to doctor what is largely a live-in-the-studio (and, in many cases, first take) recording. Occasional guitar and vibraphone overdubs by Eick and Erlien are felt more than heard, while Farmers Market's Stian Carstensen expands the soundscape with some spare pedal steel on three tunes.

Eick's tone may be redolent of the timbre-stretching approaches of Nils Petter Molvær and Arve Henriksen, but it also displays a classical purity and a hint of Kenny Wheeler's melancholy lyricism, creating a voice that's become, in a very short time, as distinctly recognizable as his sources. Despite unmistakable chops, Eick's style has always been defined by a strong predilection for melody and, with The Door's eight self-penned compositions, he proves the aesthetic behind his playing is in equal force while composing. Whether it's the folkloric theme of the title track—a nod to influential saxophonist Jan Garbarek's purity in every note and sense of purpose in every phrase—or the hauntingly beautiful "Porvoo," which closes the album as a deceptively simple but evocative duet with Balke, Eick's music is all about exploring melody and its every possible nooks and crannies.

As lyrical as The Door is, Eick's philosophy of collective energy and interaction ensures maximum freedom all around. Drummer Audun Kleive may drive the early part of "Stavanger" with a strong backbeat, but it's still a free-wheeling exchange featuring the often reticent Balke's most extroverted playing in years, before Eick enters with a simple, singable melody that temporarily pulls back the dynamic, before leading to another climax built around the power of space and potency of nuance.

With his warm tone, selfless allegiance to the collective, and personal nexus of lyrical form and freedom, Eick is the most important trumpeter to emerge from the Scandinavian scene since Henriksen and Molvær. Dogmatic in conception, The Door is all human in nature, delivering mightily on the promise of Eick's earlier ECM appearances.


Track Listing: The Door; Stavanger; Cologne Blues; October; December; Williamsburg; Fly; Porvoo.

Personnel: Mathias Eick: trumpet, guitar, vibraphone; Jon Balke: piano, Fender Rhodes; Audun Erlien: electric bass, guitar; Audun Kleive: drums, percussion; Stian Carstensen: pedal steel guitar (3-5).

Title: The Door | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ravensburg

Ravensburg

ECM Records
2018

buy
Midwest

Midwest

ECM Records
2015

buy
Skala

Skala

ECM Records
2011

buy
Apo Calypso

Apo Calypso

Jazzland Recordings
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk CD/LP/Track Review
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Pardes CD/LP/Track Review
Pardes
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Music for a Free World CD/LP/Track Review
Music for a Free World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Rats Live on No Evil Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "Full Circle" CD/LP/Track Review Full Circle
by Mackenzie Horne
Published: December 3, 2018
Read "Random Dances And (A)Tonalities" CD/LP/Track Review Random Dances And (A)Tonalities
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 8, 2018
Read "Eden" CD/LP/Track Review Eden
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 10, 2018
Read "An American Treasure" CD/LP/Track Review An American Treasure
by Doug Collette
Published: October 27, 2018
Read "Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets)" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets)
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 3, 2018
Read "Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker" CD/LP/Track Review Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018