Norwegian saxophonist Petter Wettre is one of the more prominent musicians in Norway's fertile, contemporary jazz scene. He never associated himself with the ECM school of icy, lyrical jazz, and his musical output has always corresponded with American post-bop and free jazz.
Wettre also stands in the forefront in pursuit of new means to deliver his art. In 2003, he founded his own label, Household Records. Now he takes it a step further, offering his new album for free via social media, realizing that in the age of streaming services and pirate downloading, recorded music is not a reliable source of revenue. All that needs be done for access is to like Wettre's Facebook page and the full albumincluding photos, notes and the composers' biographiesare free to download.
For this project Wettre has formed a new quartet comprised of younger musicians. Guitarist Kim Johannesen
has collaborated with him before on Appetite For Structure
(Household, 2008), augmented with the powerful rhythm section of the SAKA
trio, with bassist Jon Rune Strøm
and drummer Dag Erik Knedal Andersen
. Johannesen and Andresen have also collaborated as a duo and with the Akode quartet, featuring British saxophonist Alan Wilkinson
Wettre put a balanced set of compositions for this album, split between originals and music from American composers, all reflecting Wettre's great love of modern American jazz. The Next Generation quartet acts as a vehicle for Wettre's commanding big horn, as he plays with authority and reserve. The three young musicians keep Wettre alert throughout his "Man of the Hour," emphasizing supportive and tight interplay. Andrew Cyrille
's "5 4 3 2" enables Wettre and Johannesen to soar beautifully above the muscular bass and drum work of Strøm and Andersen. Julius Hemphill
's iconic "Hard Blues" revolves around Strøm's assured playing of the theme, solidifying Wettre and Johannesen heartfelt abstractions. AACM's (Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) Steve Colson
's ballad, "Leaving East of Java," receives a spare arrangement here, with room enough for all musicians to articulate their interpretations of the melody.
The fast chord changes fo Wettre's well-crafted "Manhattan Blues" are fleshed out by a series of solos from Wettre and Johannesen, challenged by Strøm and Andersen's shifting rhythmic patterns. Wettre's "TTFN" and "Hoot 'n' a Half" reference pianist Thelonious Monk
's fast angular twists; both compositions are performed with great elegance and humor, and introduce a joyful and playful interpretation of Monk's "Work."
Great music, performed by passionate and creative quartet.