13th Apr2017

Trichotomy ‘Known-Unknown’ (Challenge) 4/5

by ukvibe

Australian piano trio Trichotomy return with an album that builds on their existing strengths and adds a new twist with a subtle dose of electronica. However, this is still very much an acoustic formation where the melodic piano hooks of leader Sean Foran are uppermost in the listener’s thoughts. This is typified by the opener, ‘Five’, while a strong contender for the most compelling composition is surely the mid-tempo groove of, ‘Junk’. The trio take on board multiple influences from EST and Tord Gustavsen to Brad Mehldau and the Bad Plus, and that is only in the field of jazz.
What is noticeable on this new recording is that the compositions are significantly stronger and more concise (a clear sign of a band maturing nicely), with writing duties more evenly divided up between trio members and double bassist Samuel Vincent offering his own debut piece in, ‘Past tense’. The influence of Erik Satie and classical impressionist style is discernible on the chill-out zone minimalism of, ‘Hemmingways’. For fans of old-school computer sounds, they will revel in the electronica input of, ‘Reverie of lack’. 
Trichotomy have established a reputation as a trio that delves in a degree of abstraction, albeit in an all-acoustic mode. This characteristic has, if anything, become even more pronounced on this latest endeavour and is a fine extension of Sean Foran’s own solo work, most notably on the 2016, ‘Frame of reference’ album.

Tim Stenhouse

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12th Apr2017

Dominic J Marshall & Friends ‘The Triolithic’ (Challenge) 4/5

by ukvibe

UK pianist/composer/producer Dominic J Marshall is an ideas man. Some people have money burning a hole in their pocket, some have too much time on their hands, some can’t see the wood for the trees, but it’s obvious listening to the pianist’s latest release that he quite simply has ideas to burn. There’s so much going on in these twelve, largely trio tunes, that one has to draw breath at times to take it all in. With Jamie Peet and Sam Gardner on drums, Sam Vicary on bass, and one tune featuring Lars Dietrich on alto sax, the listener is taken on a breathtaking journey through acoustic jazz, hip hop and electronica. Marshall plays piano, fender Rhodes, septavox, soft synth, percussion overlays, clavichord, wurlitzer, bass programming and drum programming. So that gives you some idea of the variation that’s in store when listening to this album.

Marshall describes the concept behind the album title as; “The Triolithic was a time when humans lived in direct symbiosis with the natural world. We didn’t create barriers between ourselves and other life forms, nor did we presume to own anything. We lived the holy trio of love, poetry and rebellion (to borrow from Octavio Paz) and worshipped trees, our dreams and the sun, How do we get back there?” Well, I don’t know the answer to that, and to be honest, as deep as some of Marshall’s thinking might be, I’m left wondering if he has too many ideas and thoughts going on at one time to make a totally coherent album. There are moments of genius on this recording, but there are also times that as a listener, I find myself frustrated and confused. It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde walked into a recording studio and battled it out for an hour.

The last quarter of this album is outrageously good. So let’s work back from there. The closing tune, “Blue Lotus” (track 12), is pure piano trio brilliance at its best. One of the most striking things about the whole album, is how Marshall can mix things up effectively, creating moods, atmospheres and soundscapes that would make most writers want to jump off a cliff. And on this tune, he opens up his jazz chops and storms his way through the piece with sublime skill and jaw-dropping virtuosity. The electronics used here are subtle and of the right time and place. “Fictions” (track 11) is another largely acoustic piece that hovers and hangs before grabbing hold and drawing the listener in with its wonderful meandering intensity. “Deku Tree” (Track 10) is a stunningly evocative piece, creating a beautiful atmosphere to lose oneself completely in. And “Family Chronicle” bursts with effusive energy and spirit. Marshall takes a more supportive role on this tune as saxophonist Dietrich joins the pianist for the sumptuous melody before breaking free with some excellent soloing.

And the rest of the album is pretty darn fine too. The cool synth sounds on the opener “Devadatta (Intro)” lead the listener into an album of vivacious variety. Wonderful compositions are matched by some incredible interplay from the trio, with twists and turns always creating surprise and delight… for the most part. Having listened to this album several times over, I do however still struggle at times with the way Marshall mixes things up, just a little bit too much for my liking. Others may see this as an incredibly positive thing, and I can understand that, but for me it just sounds at times like a musical adventurer with a new toy, trying to explore too quickly and use too many different sounds and effects. Whilst some of what ensues shows an incredible maturity for such a young musician, there are times when I couldn’t help thinking less is more. That said, this is a very entertaining and refreshingly original album that is worthy of high praise.

Mike Gates

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11th Apr2017

Donald Byrd and 125th St. N.Y.C. ‘Love Has Come Around: The Elektra Records Anthology 1978-1982’ 2CD (BBR) 4/5

by ukvibe

Trumpeter Donald Byrd enjoyed a multi-faceted career that can be divided up into distinctive phases. In the early period, he operated as a trumpeter in the hard bop mode and recorded both as a leader and sideman for Blue Note, introducing the world to a then unknown pianist by the name of Herbie Hancock in 1961. This phase lasted until the late 1960s when Byrd had already begun to experiment with electrified sounds and what has come to be termed jazz fusion. A second period began in 1972 when Byrd recorded a series of seminal albums (four in total) that were produced by the brothers Mizell (Larry and Fonce) and these included the stunning, ‘Blackbyrd’ from 1973 and, arguably strongest of all, ‘Place and Spaces’, a definitive slice of jazz-funk, crammed with anthemic numbers. Crucial to this new pioneering sound was the use of vocals in tandem with more condensed and restricted instrumental soloing and this, along with the commercial success, led Byrd to be charged by jazz purists with ‘selling out’. However, where members of the jazz fraternity lost interest, a whole new and younger audience came on board and were attracted by the combination of emerging funk, soulful vocals and jazz-tinged instrumentation.

Parallel to a musical career, Donald Byrd pursued an academic career as university lecturer in music, having obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees (he even found time later to study for a degree in law) and it was while at Rutgers University that he developed a new group called the Blackbyrds. In his mind was thus born the concept of a younger group to accompany and freshen up his sound (interestingly Miles Davis would, at regular intervals, would do precisely the same thing). This new anthology, while it could never hope to cover Byrd’s entire career, or even just the fusion period, does an excellent job of chronicling the Elektra years which spans the end of disco and the beginning of the 1982, just as jazz was about to come out of the doldrums and be hip again to a new public.

The first album, ‘Thank you for…. funking up my life’, dates from 1978 and included here is the full-length 12″ disco cut that typifies the more left-field side of disco (think War, George Duke, David Bendeth) which readily encompassed jazzier beats,

but in a dancefloor setting. The title track was a reasonable hit at the time, but has been eclipsed, certainly in the UK at least, by the soothing mid-tempo groove with deliciously soulful female vocals of, ‘Loving you’, and this was released as a single at the time and made the lower échelons of the R&B charts in the United States.

A second album surfaced some two years later, simply entitled, ‘Donald Byrd and the 125th St. N.Y.C.’ and featuring a wonderfully evocative picture by the great Ernie Barnes who had equally produced the cover of Marvin Gaye’s stunning, ‘I want you’, album. Byrd was veering more heavily towards compositional songwriting and consequently his trumpet solos became significantly reduced and less frequent. From this recording, the discofied hues of, ‘I love you’, resonated with audiences and it is a superior slice of dancefloor action. However, more reflective of Byrd was the instrumental, ‘Marilyn’, and the mid-tempo number that opened the album in, ‘Pretty baby'(a nod possibly to the film of the same title featuring Brooke Shields).
By album three, change was in the offing and this came in the significant and new influence of the legendary Stax soul singer-songwriter, Isaac Hayes. Accompanying Hayes were the vocal talents of the Hot Buttered Soul Singers. Byrd and Hayes scored a major hit among the jazz-funk community in the UK with the superb, ‘Love has come around’, and here Byrd was able to offer meaty soloing as well as directing the group. In fact, the song was written by long-term Byrd band member and guitarist, William Duckett, and this proved to be Donald Byrd’s biggest hit on the R&B charts, weighing in at number fifteen. Further tasty album cuts included the very Hayes sounding, ‘I feel like loving you today’, and ‘Falling’. This was probably the strongest album of the four. Another single release, the mid-tempo, ‘I love your love’, was a more modest R&B hit.

The final album for Elektra, ‘Words, sounds colors and shapes’, dates from 1982 just as synthesized instrumentation was about to dominate the soul charts. Thankfully, Donald Byrd resisted that potential pitfall and came up with an end of era jazz-funk record, where his trumpet sound was even less prominent than previously. Two choice cuts of this album include, ‘So much in love’ and ‘Forbidden love’. The album did not fare as well as the predecessor, but was still well received in the UK.

As ever with BBR anthologies, excellent pictorial support with album sleeves, labels and photos of Byrd still looking decidedly cool in his attire.

Tim Stenhouse

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11th Apr2017

Ibrahim Electric ‘The Marathon Concert’ 2CD (Stunt) 4/5

by ukvibe

Danish jazz is enjoying something of a new flowering and to prove the point this double live CD that captures one of the grooviest trios in the capital Copenhagen. The hammond organ trio combines elements of blues, funk, Afro-Beat and even surf guitar, and yet still come across as a cohesive whole. What is truly remarkable is that the music contained within is but a small part of the six hours they performed for at the Veega music venue on 8 July 2016. It must have been an awfully long evening for band and audience alike, but an immensely enjoyable one all the same.

The trio were formed in 2002 and are well travelled, having toured both Canada and China. They are made up of guitarist Niclas Knudsen, Hammond B3 organist Jeppe Tuxen, who sounds as though he has listened to plenty of Charles Earland and Big John Patton, and drummer Stefan Pasborg.

Clavinet is featured on the highly creative tribute to the king of Afro-Beat and it is wonderful how the band with just a trio manage to capture that densely layered Afro-Beat sound with clipped guitar riff and drums all contributing. A most inventive take.

This writer warmed to the understated blues-infused groove of, ‘Funny games’, with a rocked-tinged guitar solo.

Riff-laden numbers predominate and subsequently the pieces are relatively short, averaging four and a half minutes, and the longest piece is only, seven and a half minutes long. Audience participation merely adds to the fun atmosphere with clapping on, ‘Der alte das boot’, where the Hammond takes centre stage. Who would have expected surf guitar to come into the mix, yet that is precisely what happens on the intriguingly titled, ‘African boogaloo’, and on the surf meets Chicago blues sounding, ‘Big boss’, which is a groovy little ditty for sure. Definitely a group to watch out for and younger jazz fans will enjoy the combination of rock guitar with funky drum beats.

Tim Stenhouse

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10th Apr2017

Josiah Woodson ‘Suite Elemental’ CD/DIG (Re:Wax/Truth Revolution) 5/5

by ukvibe

30/40 years ago talented musicians like Josiah Woodson would have no difficulty finding their way onto a good-sized Jazz record label and reaping the benefits of the corporate machine for promotion, exposure and market penetration. That was the traditional route then. Now young artists with something to say have to take their destiny into their own hands, using the marketing ‘starter’ kit available via the web in the form of social media, video streaming, crowd funding and the blogosphere. Woodson has taken this route for his debut and whilst the Internet has made the world smaller, it has made it no less crowded meaning that exposure is still a challenge.His background is fairly typical for a Jazz tyro, at least in his early years. Formally schooled in music in Ohio and Boston, he got his musical education playing with the likes of Branford Marsalis, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, David Sanchez, Danilo Perez and Marcus Belgrave. Rather than take the traditional Jazz route to New York though, Woodson moved to Paris where he lives and works, following in the footsteps of Sidney Bechet, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Clarke, Archie Shepp and more recently Logan Richardson.

Woodson plays trumpet, flugelhorn, flute and guitar on this album, but he’s no one-man band. His group, Quintessentiel, embody his cosmopolitan attitude featuring members from Martinique, Australia, US and France.

The 6-track album is the backdrop to a narrative exploring the journey of a prince as he experiences the four elements of nature – “Air”, “Eau”, “Feu” and “Terre” en route to becoming a king. Woodson describes both the story and the music as “a chance to spark as much imagination as possible, to give the listener a chance to create their own reality in their mind, to imagine what is going on in the story on their own terms”. By shaping his music around such universal, primary building blocks Woodson allows us all to step inside his creative vision, after all who amongst us cannot imagine textures and tones that embody the air we breathe or the water we drink?

Inside my head there is wonder, harmony, joy, unpredictability and danger, a mixture of raw, primordial energies and benign eternal constants, concepts I can relate to within Woodson’s musical interpretation.

“Air” is upbeat, light and fresh sounding infused with trumpet and a nice performance on Rhodes solo from guest Lovell Bradford. “Eau” shimmers as it ebbs and flows, with Woodson leading on both guitar and flute. Imagine a fast moving stream with the rhythm driven along by the current, with quieter eddies and pools at the water’s edge. “Feu” is darker in tone and opens with a promise of menace before bursting with sparks of energy. Ricardo Izquierdo on tenor sax adds to that sense of foreboding. “Terre” starts with the bass, as I guess it should, with another guest New Yorker Peter Giron. Originally intended as the start of the journey, it is the most grounded of the suite, with a whimsical spirit. If you like this track then I’d urge you to watch the Youtube video which includes Tarani Joy Woodson’s reading. The story reaches its end with “Solstice” an upbeat guitar lead melody.

Woodson has crafted as stimulating and joyous an album as I have heard for some time, to my ears more evocative, entertaining and just downright tuneful than many of the more mainstream artists in the Jazz firmament right now.

Andy Hazell

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09th Apr2017

The Reunion Project ‘Varanda’ (Tapestry) 5/5

by ukvibe

Lifelong friends Felipe Salles (saxophone), Chico Pinheiro (guitar), Tiago Costa (piano), and Edu Ribeiro (drums) have bridged the years to form The Reunion Project. The four Brazilian musicians came of age in São Paulo listening to a unique blend of jazz and Brazilian music that shaped each of them as they embarked on notable but diverging careers in music. Two decades on, and with the addition of young bassist Bruno Migotto, “Varanda”, the quintet’s debut, reflects well the eclectic roots and youthful camerarderie of its members, deepened and honed by the maturity gleaned from twenty-something years of study and experience. On this wonderful recording the five Brazilian virtuosos explore the far-reaching crossroads of modern jazz and Brazilian music through nine original compositions and the aptly chosen standard ‘Yesterdays’.

There is a lovely, warm, nostalgic feel to this album. One can sense the friendship and love of music coming out of the speakers as the light and breezy music fills the room with joy and early morning sunshine. Like a Spring sunrise lighting up the day, it puts a smile on my face and contentment in my heart. “We all share a common background” says Felipe Salles, “We have the same early influences and figured out who we wanted to be as musicians around the same time. From sitting in a room in college listening to music together to so many years later having established ourselves in the field, it’s quite a nice thing to come back and reunite on the other side of the spectrum from where you started.”

Salles and Pinheiro share the longest relationship according to the saxophonist. The two spent countless hours listening to fusion-era jazz giants like Weather Report, the Yellowjackets and Pat Metheny, alongside Brazilian icons like Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento and Hermeto Pascoal. And although much water has passed under the bridge since those formative years of discovery, it is very much apparent on listening to this album that the seeds were sown early on. With time and experience comes maturity, and there is a clear sense of this throughout all of the tunes on this session, with a relaxed feel allowing the musicians to produce some richly rewarding music.

There is a natural chemistry that comes from the musicians knowing each other so well, and this shines brightly throughout the album. Each member of the band brought in new compositions, all written with each other in mind. And it shows. The opening tune ‘Sinuosa’ sets the tone, with its formidable writing and stylish performances. A Brecker-esque saxophone melody cuts through the South American rhythms as the band gel immediately. Pinheiro’s guitar playing is particularly stunning, with a gorgeous solo lifting the tune even further. There’s a beautiful warmth to ‘Cobalt Blue’ as Costa’s gorgeous piano chords take us into this piece, the tune bringing the best out of all of the musicians. ‘Maracatim’ is a light and breezy tune that enjoys a care-free feel to it. There’s a sincerity to ‘Sunset’ that breathes out a touch of class and elegance. As with many of the tunes here, the soloing is of the highest order, but it’s never at the expense of the tune itself. Everything is integrated so well, so naturally. The musicians combine their talents with an effortless grace. The tunes are masterfully written and performed, and on ‘Jack and The Goblin Brother’, the quintet stretch out and flex their musical muscles with some incredible soloing. I love the way the Brazilian and contemporary jazz styles are fused so effortlessly. The listenable richness of sound belies its complexities, and with great solos from Salles and Ribeiro, this is one of those tunes that excites and startles in equal measure. The title track ‘Varanda’ has a gentleness to it that is soft and touching. It might sound a little odd to say this, but it’s like a cross between a 1940’s ballroom classic and an esoteric tune appearing on an ECM release… but it works very well. ‘Reunion’ typifies what this band do so well by integrating memorable melodies and catchy hooks, with intelligent playing. The skillful art of composition continues with ‘Mathias’, sounding almost like something from the Mehldau/Metheny songbook. ‘BR’ is a jazzier piece that manages to be thoughtful, lively and foot-tapping all at the same time. The writing really is impeccable, but the way this quartet breathe life and energy into the tunes is a joy to experience. The album closes with ‘Yesterdays’, a somewhat poignant title to the end of an album that actually heralds new beginnings for this excellent quintet.

An uplifting album in so many ways, The Reunion Project’s ‘Varanda’ will be an album I come back to whenever I need a bit of a lift. Or just because I need a reminder of how great musicians come together as friends and make great music together.

Mike Gates

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08th Apr2017

Shez Raja ‘Gurutopia’ (Dot Time) 4/5

by ukvibe

Gurutopia is the fifth album to be released from the Shez Raja Collective.
Shez’s website describes his music as “a sonic kaleidoscope of Indo-jazz, thundering funk, tuneful ragas and euphoric groove”. Electric bassist Shez has also been described as a genre-buster, and this album makes it easy to understand why. Indeed, the blend of musical styles on show here includes most of the above, with a smattering of rock also thrown in for good measure.
Within the tracks, there are clear nods to Eastern music and Miles Davis. Perhaps it was my imagination running riot, but while listening, my mind, racing with the heady mix of styles, instruments and melodies also detected numerous serene slivers of sound, bringing back memories of delicious morsels from artists such as Van Morrison, Alison Krauss and possibly even Judie Tzuke.
Musicianship is always of a very high standard. There are excellent solos from fine artists such as Randy Brecker on Trumpet, Vasilis Xenopoulos on saxophone and the delicate voice of Polish born singer Monika Lidke. Chris Nickolls’s drumming is always tight and engaging. Steve Pringle and Alex Stanford on keyboards, violinist Pascal Roggen and Mike Stern on guitar complete the brilliant line up.

The album features eight tracks comprising: Rabbits, Maharaja, Song For John, My Imaginary Friend, Sketches Of Space, RocknRolla, Prime time and Shiva Mantra.
The band was evidently having a good time while recording this album. No, more like an absolute blast. There is a pretty good chance that it will put a smile on your face as well.

Tony Stewart

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08th Apr2017

Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier ‘The Colours of Time’ 2CD (MG) 4/5

by ukvibe

Following up on their well received 2015 duet album, ‘Chasing Tales’, comes a double album that once again pairs the duo together, but this time with an extended quartet formation on the second CD including acoustic and electric bassist Raph Mizrahi and drummer Paul Cavaciuti. In fact, the latter CD has more of an expansive Pat Metheny group feel to it, with the layered sound of the opener, ‘The Followers’, illustrating the empathy that flows organically between the two guitarists. On the intimate ballad, ‘Looking West’, the jazz tradition is recalled with both Jim Hall and Pat Metheny evoked. A personal favourite of this writer is the samba shuffling drum pattern by drummer Paul Cavaciuti on, ‘Chasing Kites’, with intricate guitar work from Oxley.
Medieval music sounds greet the listener at the very beginning of, ‘Tales’, but this soon gives way to inventive polyrhythms as bass and drums enter collectively. The first CD demonstrates beyond all doubt that the two guitarists are capable of complimenting one another and are best showcased on delicate numbers such as, ‘A Piece For Peace’, presumably in tribute to Bill Evans. Gypsy jazz and even a Brazilian undercurrent collide and then fuse on, ‘Waltz for Dilek’, and make for a fascinating contrast.

The duo have been performing extensively at UK dates throughout March and continue through April including Norwich, Nottingham and Oxford. Well worth the effort of checking them out live since they are both virtuoso performers, though always with musicality at the forefront of their minds.

Tim Stenhouse

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07th Apr2017

Uvee Hayes ‘Nobody But You’ (Mission Park) 5/5

by ukvibe

There are voices that stand out from the moment you hear them, make you stop what your doing, they reset the world around you, give the moment some clarity, Uvee Hayes is one of them. Her vocals have a wonderful fragility but she can also hold her own when she has to hang tough. When Shirley Brown and Barbara Mason appeared to be ruling the roost in the late 70’s early 80’s I often wondered why Uvee wasn’t up there, her voice would have added a lovely contrast to the sound that was dominating playlists and the air-waves over here. She’s been around for more years than we can mention, and has worked with just about every major player around, releasing 9 albums, blimey some of us can remember her on ‘Cassette’ and in recent times CDs. Let’s not forget the 45’s I have nestling on the shelves too. Her last album was simply superb and I have to tell you this album is more of the same. Well crafted songs and a music score that is just so right, the musicians are the premier league of St Louis, Dennis Brewer, Eric McSpadden, Vestye Jackson and Gerald Warre. We also have the hugely respected and notable bass player and producer James McKay who is currently the band leader for Dennis Edwards and his Temptations review. (I wonder if Mr Jackson is the same man that gave us the stunning “I’m still in love with you” a couple of years ago, now that is a tune).

She has a following in St Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, Columbia, Missouri throughout the South, her fame has also reached the Far East, not to forget Europe and in particular the UK. It’s not surprising really the music is timeless, base heavy with intricate touches, a bluesy earthy ‘real’ undercurrent but with enough soul to satisfy people like me. Vocally she’s unique at the moment, no-one else sings the way she does and long may it continue.

Some highlights then from the album, “Your love’s got a hold on me” is a future modern soul anthem, its been on repeat play, very very loud too, a chugging dancer, kicking off with short guitar licks and off we go, an athemic chorus line, this has 4am Soul Essence written all over it, its playing now love the sweet back up singers and that sax sounding solo too. Perfect for UK modern soul dance floors. On the last album she was telling us about the “Handy Man” well he’s here again only she’s renamed him “Maintenance man”, it’s a lovely mid-tempo stepper and for more of the same get a load of “Mr Fixit man” with its thunderous base subtle key changes, and a subtle ‘Chacking’ guitar that underpins the sound perfectly – it’s the type of sound Willie Mitchell would be putting out of the Hi studios. Another serious highlight is the title track, “Nobody but you”, a mellow subtle meandering opus and when she sigs like this I can hear hints of Diana Ross in there. I could rattle on relentlessly but space and all that, buy the album wack it on loud and like me you will love it. I believe the release is due for release any day now.

Brian Goucher

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07th Apr2017

Daniel Herskedal ‘The Roc’ (Edition) 4/5

by ukvibe

Who would have thought it? A quintet led by a tuba player with viola, cello, piano and percussion? This might on face value appear to be a tad too eclectic for their own good, but Edition Records have once again proved what a forward thinking and innovative label they are, with Norwegian Daniel Herskedal’s latest release, ‘The Roc’. Wonderful, inspired music can come in any form if it is led by a quality musician with a sense of compositional subtlety and a group of musicians with collective prowess and understanding. And so it is that this quintet successfully weave a web of intriguing, innovative sound, seamlessly fusing a unique mix of influences, from folk, jazz, classical and Arabic music. The resulting album is a delight to the ears, food for the soul and inspiration for the mind. Over the last couple of years, the trio of Daniel Herskedal, Helge Andreas Norbakken and Eyolf Dale, along with string players Bergmund Waal Skaslien and Svente Henryson, have defined themselves as one of the most innovative small ensembles in Europe today. The beauty of their music comes to life on ‘The Roc’, an album which has its roots in inspiring trips Herskedal made to Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. And indeed, the Middle Eastern influences throughout this album are strong, with the themes of place and travelling ever-present.

There is so much character, intensity and beauty to be heard here, that it is easy to grasp that Herskedal is a musician with a clear and bold vision. The richness of the music being performed and the sublime nature of it all, reflects a true understanding of how music and musicians should work together in a collaborative sense. And from the listener’s point of view, it just works, it just sounds right, as if it was always meant to be so.

The recording features ten original compositions, the titles of some originating from the names of scales (Kurd, Bayat, Nahawund To Kurd) and rhythms (Thuruuya) and others from Arabic sayings, one of which surely making for the best track title of the year so far; ‘There are three things you cannot hide, love, smoke and a man riding on a camel’.

From the dancing frivolity of the opener ‘Seeds of Language’, to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Eternal Sunshine Creates A Desert’, to the thought-provoking closing track ‘All That Has Happened As Fate Willed’, the playing from all five musicians, but especially the sublime, creative and intelligent playing from Herskedal himself, makes this session at times a joy to be behold. The arrangements are key to many of the tunes, with the band’s collective creativity shining like a beacon on a distant shore, spreading light across the misty waters.

I found this album to be a breath of fresh air. Maybe it’s a bit of a sweeping statement, but Scandinavian jazz certainly seems to continue to produce wonderful musicians with an incredible capacity to embrace their roots whilst pushing boundaries and musical genres to create some quite simply stunning music. Daniel Herskedal is most definitely one of those musicians leading the way.

Mike Gates

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