Kristian Borring ‘Urban Novel’ (Jellymould) 3/5

kristian-borringDanish guitarist and band leader Kristian Borring has performed as a sideman with an assortment of European jazz musicians including tenorist Tommaso Starace and jazz/folk singer Monika Lidke. This album marks the debut on the label for Borring and features a set of all-original compositions. The quintet includes the excellent vibist Jim Hart and Irish bassist Mick Coady in its ranks and the numbers are reputedly inspired by urban landscape, though it has to be said that there is little evidence of the hustle and bustle of city life here. In fact the band works best in trio format as on the gentle bossa-flavoured piece of the title track and one wonders whether Borring the guitarist is better sampled minus piano and vibes where his voice tends to be relegated to a minor role. Several numbers are at a similar tempo and more variety is required for the listener to be able to retain his/her attention throughout. Contrary to its title, ‘Hipster’ is actually a delicate number and introspective with some lovely guitar and vibes in unison on the chorus. One musician who does stand out here is pianist Arthur Lea and his extended piano solo intro on ‘Number Junky’ is sufficiently impressive that he might want to ponder a leadership role for himself at some stage soon. If Borring’s guitar tone is pleasant, it is not yet distinctive enough to stand out among his peers and at present the jazz guitarist is residing in a saturated market place.

Tim Stenhouse