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.

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 Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Live at the Blue Whale" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Blue Whale
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Jazz Flute Traditions" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Nellie Bly Project" CD/LP/Track Review Nellie Bly Project
by Paul Rauch
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Small Town" CD/LP/Track Review Small Town
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II" CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 9, 2017