The Wøøøh is a Danish-French schizophrenic quartet. Its saxophonist thinks that he is is a singer in a rock band and its guitarist is addicted to myriad effects and sonic experimentations. This quartet treats melodies as a springboard to noisy excursions and its intense improvisations are charged with raw, aggressive power.
The musicians are Danish saxophonist Henrik Pultz Melbye, guitarist Lars Bech Pilgaard (both play in Pilgaard-led SVIN), and drummer Casper Mikkelsen (who hosts Melbye and Pilgaard in his Audiograph band), together with French bassist Sylvain Didou, who wrote the music for this quartet. The four met in Denmark in 2009 and since than toured Denmark and France several times. Souvenirs, Souvenirs was recorded live in May 2013.
The Wøøøh relies on powerful, driving pulse, articulated by Mikkelsen but solidified by all its musicians. Once this pulse is stated and repeated all is open to experimentation. "Rozo" highlights the urgent, dirty sound of Pilgaard's guitar as its backbone while on "Dodgeball" the rock-solid beat allows Melbye, Pilgaard and Didou to embrace patiently the intensifying rhythmic framework. On "Pylone" Melbye takes the lead and envelopes the noisy rhythmic mayhem with clear, melodic blows. Its thick collaborative improvisation is close in spirit to the intensity of such bands as Lean Left or The Ex, all enjoying pushing its music to the farthest high energy terrains. "Run" gravitates slowly towards an infectious rhythmic coda after a spare, open improvisation.
But The Wøøøh sound and aesthetic is wider. "Jaku" feature the quartet riding on an intoxicating, straight ahead blues-funky pulse, with an impressive, muscular solo of Pilgaard and soulful one of Melbye. Melbye only compositions, the short and emotional ballad "Altanblues," surprises with its reserved lyricism. "Kwutch" is the only piece that focuses on sonic searches, and all four musicians employ various extended techniques on its instruments, slowly sketching, a nuanced, tense and abstract structure.
The Wøøøh is a band with a unique, personal sound and vision.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.