The nice people at the Norwegian AMP label have been sending me CDs for a while, one or two a month, and I keep putting them to one side to listen to later. A couple of weeks ago I realised that I hadn’t listened to them, and so I made a concerted effort to work my way through the pile. There were a few that weren’t to my taste, and I shan’t mention those further, but several of them are very good records indeed, and I shall post about them over the next few weeks. They’re almost entirely by musicians I’ve not heard before (though there is the occasional guest with whom I’m familiar); many of the musicians scarily young to be so good. Jazz education in Scandinavia seems to be doing a very good job.
Here is the first batch.
This record seems “typically European”: there’s lots of space and emotion in the playing. Obradovic plays tenor, his solos building in intensity. The quartet are joined by Arkady Shilkoper whose French horn brings a mellow but clear and evocative voice. There are classical elements, particular in some of the minimalist piano riffs. A lovely record.
This sextet features Seamus Blake of tenor, joining Bankov on alto and four other musicians playing Bankov’s compositions. Last time I saw Blake play he was experimenting with electronics and a wind-synthesizer, and frankly I didn’t get it. Perhaps Bankov read my mind, because the first track is called “Hope You Get It”, and this time I seem to.
There are a fair few effects used, and the music falls somewhere between jazz and electric rock, with a few folk themes thrown in, too. The whole is lively and exciting, powerful, energetic fusion with the electronics and effects adding to the music rather than covering things up. There are several fast tunes, quite a few beats, and some great music.
Bankov is only twenty. Bright future indeed!
A multinational quartet with musicians from Spain (Gagliardi), UK (Thornton) and Norway (Albrightsen and Thorén) recorded in Rome, this record is straight ahead swinging post bop modern jazz. Full of melody and rhythm and lots of improvisation, this is compelling music. There are a couple of ballads, a couple of faster sprints, but most of the tunes fall comfortably between the two. It is strange that an album that has one track called “The Old Piano and the Sea” and another called “McCoy” has a guitar as its chordal root rather than a piano, but it all hangs together really well.
This is a CD of solo acoustic and pedal guitar, not something I would normally go for. I don’t have a great deal to say except that I really enjoyed it. It just felt good.