Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

271

Tellef Ogrim: Wagon 8

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
While it's easy to find artists who focus on fretless electric bass, those who concentrate on fretless electric guitar are less commonplace. High profile artists including jazz icon Pat Metheny and guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew have dabbled with fretless guitars over the years, but few make it a priority. Norwegian guitarist Tellef Øgrim has been focusing on the instrument for twenty years, and while he's been involved in a variety of musical projects over the years, Wagon 8 is his first full-length CD as a leader.

It's an album that, with its combination of improvisation, written sketches and electronic processing, fits into the Nu Jazz sphere, but demonstrates just how broad that sphere is. Largely a trio disc featuring Øgrim, drummer/live electronics player Jacek Kochan and trombonist Dag Einar Ellertsen, it goes to show how an unconventional grouping can create music that can range from sharp and edgy to soft and gentle. It moves from amorphous freedom to pulse-driven intention with uncanny intuition.

Wagon 8 also possesses no shortage of wry humor, with titles like "There Are Insects With No Education and "Into This Distance (Did She Knit That Hat?). While the material is largely improvised or composed by the band members, a brief take on Duke Ellington's "Azure is at once conventional and curious. Ellertsen plays it straight, with Øgrim assuming the bass role and Kochan maintaining the pulse but injecting subtle absurdity throughout.

The elasticity of fretless guitar makes it a perfect partner with the equally flexible trombone. The title track is a mixture of electronic artifice and cued themes doubled by Øgrim and Ellertsen, but remains a generally free piece which ultimately settles into a tandem improvisation for guitar and trombone over ambient washes of sound. "Tidal Dance is a haunting feature for Øgrim, making full use of his instrument's ability to slide into notes with an almost bluesy feel. Ellertsen layers a low, multiphonic foundation with Kochan developing a tumultuous underpinning, leading the trio into more esoteric free territory.

By contrast, "Do They Know? and Kokkel I Monke rely on more defined rhythms, the latter closing in on funk, while still leaving plenty of room for unfettered exploration. Wagon 8 is less about instrumental prowess and more about expanding on general roadmaps and, at times, pulling order from chaos. Its inherent challenge and experimental nature doesn't detract from a compulsive appeal. Blending improvisation with electronics-based music, Wagon 8 is a strong debut for Øgrim's less-than-conventional instrument and collective.


Track Listing: There Are Insects With No Education; Wagon 8; Tidal Dance; Things We Touched; Do They Know?; Til Seters; The Departure of Mr. D; Kokkel I Monke; Michael, Are You There?; U.S.T.; Azure; Into This Distance (Did She Knit That Hat?).

Personnel: Tellef

Title: Wagon 8 | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Curling Legs


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "No Mundo Dos Sons" CD/LP/Track Review No Mundo Dos Sons
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "From Two Balconies" CD/LP/Track Review From Two Balconies
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "The Many Minds of Richie Cole" CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Demons 1" CD/LP/Track Review Demons 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "In All My Holy Mountain" CD/LP/Track Review In All My Holy Mountain
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 12, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!