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Arne Thorbjoernsen

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Catch up on the best jazz releases of the last 30 days.

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Ingebrigt Håker Flaten / Håkon Kornstad

Traditional music from Ingebrigts homeplace Oppdal. Music that Ingbrigt grew up with listening to his grandmother Elise Flaten singing.Håkon Kornstad - Saxophone and Flutonette // Ingebrigt Flaten - Doublebass // 2008 Compunctio
It sounds like Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Håkon Kornstad have always played the duo format together. In the album Elise, their interplay is natural, while at the same time searching and open, with the room’s great acoustics acting as a third musician. It’s hard to imagine a better way to take advantage of the double bass’s and the saxophone’s sound and possibilities to unite—from colorful
multiphonics and soft moves with the bow via suggestive grooves to noisy tone explosions. The music, consisting mostly of Norwegian hymns, is recorded in a room with excellent acoustics at the new castle of Bjärka-Säby, south of Linköping, Sweden, during two days in April 2008. Ingebrigt’s grandmother, Elise Flaten, was a tradition bearer of a treasure trove of old hymns from Oppdal, Norway, and her interpretations of the songs were recorded by the Norwegian National Radio (nrk) in the 1970’s. Transcriptions of these recordings form the basis of the album Elise.

Having two jazz musicians interpreting hymns reminds one of Jan Johansson’s classical album Jazz på Svenska (Jazz in Swedish), and though Jazz på Svenska has never been a reference for the recording of Elise, there are similarities between the both albums. However, Ingebrigt and Håkon are not nostalgic in their interpretations. With their innovative playing, respect for tradition and childish curiosity as to where the music will take them, they have created an extremely dynamic and contemporary album, a sort of “Jazz in Norwegian
– 2008”! Keith Jarrett’s Death and the flower and the free improvisation Etter Elise (After Elise) is also part of the album and, together with the hymns, they create a natural whole.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (double bass) and Håkon Kornstad (saxophone and flutonette) have established themselves as two of the most driven young musicians on the worldwide jazz scene. For a long time now they have been a leading part of the jazz scene in Norway through their frequent and consistent co-operation with Bugge Wesseltoft and the record label Jazzland. The list of great musicians with whom they have co-operated is extensive: Jeff Parker
(Tortoise), Pat Metheny, Dave Liebman, Mats Gustafsson, Anja Garbarek, Joe Lovano, Raoul Bjørkenheim, Jon Christensen, Nils Petter Molvær, John Scofield, Yusef Lateef, Bugge Wesseltoft, Joe McPhee, Tony Oxley, Tore Brunborg, Joshua Redman, Axel Dørner, Paul Lytton, Ken Vandermark, Michiyo Yagi, and more…

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Pianisten Krzysztof Komeda er gjort af mytisk stof. En musiker og komponist som blev Polens mest betydningsfulde jazznavn og en af 1960ernes vigtigste europæiske jazzmusikere og filmkomponister. Det er historien om en tilbageholdende men insisterende og ærlig kunstner, som under svære ...

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Krzysztof Komeda :
Poland's "first" jazz musician
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Under Nordlysfestivalen inviterte Tomasz Stanko og Nordnorsk storband til å bli bedre kjent med musikken til Krzysztof Komeda. Han regnes som Polens første (moderne) jazzmusiker, men ble mer kjent som filmkomponist, blant annet for Roman Polanski.

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ACT, the enterprising Munich based label founded by former Warner’s executive Siggi Loch celebrates its twentieth anniversary in 2012. “Liberetto” is the first of a series of outstanding releases scheduled for this anniversary year (others include major new recorded statements from Michael Wollny’s and Vijay Iyer plus an album of previously unreleased material by the label’s former flagship band E.S.T) and it is perhaps appropriate that label stalwart Lars Danielsson should set the ball rolling.

The Swedish bassist, cellist and composer has had a long and fruitful relationship with the label and particularly so in recent years thanks to his acclaimed collaboration with Polish pianist Leszek Mozdzer. This sublime creative alliance produced the duo recording “Pasodoble” (2007) and the group album “Tarantella” (2009), both of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site. With Mozdzer now concentrating on his solo career following the success of his solo piano album “Komeda” (2011, also ACT, also reviewed elsewhere on The Jazzmann) Danielsson has turned to the Armenian born pianist Tigran Hamasyan ( generally known simply as Tigran) as his chief collaborator on this new recording. As on the earlier “Tarantella” Danielsson has assembled something of a “supergroup” for the recording with British guitarist John Parricelli remaining on board and with former E.S.T. drummer Magnus Ostrom and Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen, who guests on a number of tracks, replacing Eric Harland and Mathias Eick respectively.

However “Liberetto” is no superstar jam, Danielsson lavishes the same care on this recording as he did on his two most recent releases. The twelve selections are frequently concise and pithy but beautifully composed and arranged. Danielsson and Tigran both contribute to the writing process with Tigran also bringing his arrangement of the Armenian folk song “Hov arek sarer djan” to the session. Both Danielsson and Tigran come from classical backgrounds and this influence is inherent both in the album title (which forms a neat continuum with “Pasodoble” and “Tarantella”) and in the music itself where their classical tendencies combine superbly with folk and jazz strands.

Tigran, still only in his twenties, currently commutes between France and New York and already has four albums under his belt including his breakthrough 2011 recording for Verve Records “A Fable”. His tune “Yerevan” opens proceedings here with Henriksen’s trademark whispered trumpet sound combining with the composer’s piano and Ostrom’s characteristic brushed drum groove. At just over two minutes it’s little more than a highly atmospheric sketch, or an overture if you will.

Danielsson’s title track is gorgeously melodic with a delicate classically inspired motif. Tigran’s serene touch at the piano is sublime and Danielsson contributes a beautifully articulated bass solo. Ostrom’s brush work and occasional percussion is subtlety personified and the sound is filled out with Paricelli’s carefully considered guitar atmospherics. It’s all very lovely and inescapably Scandinavian despite the international nature of the group.

“Day One” is an exquisite miniature for bass, trumpet and piano with Henriksen at his feathery best and with Tigran again displaying a maturity beyond his years.

The attractive melody of “Orange Market” is sketched by Paricelli’s cleanly picked acoustic guitar and provides the springboard for expansive solos by Tigran and Danielsson, the pair entering into a joyous exchange of ideas. Danielsson’s soloing is a wonderful mix of good taste and a remarkable dexterity before Ostrom’s unmistakable grooves push Tigran to fresh heights.

The gently unfolding “Hymnen” sounds suitably solemn and ethereal with Henriksen combining beautifully with Tigran on the theme. Danielsson contributes a movingly resonant solo while Ostrom’s gently brushed cymbals provide perfect punctuation.

Tigran’s “Svensk Lat” represents the pianist’s attempt to write a tune in the Swedish tradition. “Svensk Lat sounds more Swedish than some of my songs” remarks Danielsson in approbation. Essentially the piece is divided into two parts, the first gentle and folky and featuring Danielsson on cello, the second more hard grooving with a conscious nod in the direction of E.S.T.

The pianist’s imaginative arrangement of the Armenian folk song “Hov arek sarer djan” is a delicate exploration of the melody with Danielsson again deploying the bow. The piece also includes Tigran’s gentle vocals (he also features his voice more extensively on his own album “The Fable”). His voice sounds timeless, even when juxtaposed against electronic effects (very possibly generated by Henriksen’s trumpet).

Danielsson’s “Party On The Planet” is unashamedly happy and upbeat with a memorable Pat Metheny/E.S.T. style melody. Danielsson contributes an almost funky bass solo and doubles on Wurlitzer piano. Paricelli’s solo sees him making extensive use of the wah wah pedal to generate a distinctive, almost dirty sound on his solo as Ostrom grooves along behind.

“Tystnaden”, jointly composed by Danielsson and Tigran is brief and intimate with a measured, deeply resonant pizzicato bass solo. Danielsson overdubs himself with the bow to create eerie effects that complement Tigran’s careful and exact piano. It’s all highly atmospheric as is the following “Ahde’s Theme” which sounds like a wordless but ineffably melancholic folk/pop song. Henriksen’s frosty sounding trumpet returns to double up on the melody with Tigran and the sound is enhanced with other electronic embellishments although I wouldn’t like to speculate as to the source. It’s simultaneously beautiful and chilling.

Paricelli’s distinct nylon string guitar sound is featured to good effect on the folk tinged “Driven To Daylight” alongside Tigran’s flowing piano. Danielsson’s supple but resonant bass grounds the piece and Ostrom offers delightful small percussive details.

The album closes with the lovely “Bla Angar” with Henriksen’s plaintive trumpet whisper, verging on the flute like at times, the defining sound above a sparse backdrop of acoustic guitar and Ostrom’s minimalist percussion groove. Tigran’s almost glacial piano weaves in and out on this definitive slice of Nordic melancholy.

Some observers may find Danielsson’s controlled, super chilled approach a little bloodless but fans of the earlier “Tarantella” will no doubt be impressed. Danielsson and Tigran have come up with some beautiful melodies which the ensemble have distilled to their very essence with their flawlessly delicate playing. Tigran’s crystalline touch at the piano is magical throughout and Paricelli and Henriksen both make telling, if less frequent contributions. Ostrom’s playing is very different to his work with E.S.T. or his own electric prog/jazz “Thread of Life” quartet yet he still sounds like himself, his unique way with a groove remaining intact even in the quietest moments. His contribution is immense.
As for Danielsson his own playing is consistently excellent and tightly focussed, whether leading from the front in a variety of concise solos or anchoring the group from the rear. As a writer his melodic gift is apparent throughout the recording.

“Liberetto” is certain to be great success by virtue of its innate accessibility and superb musicianship. The presence of E.S.T legend Ostrom and the current buzz surrounding Tigran won’t do sales any harm either. Danielsson and his colleagues have ensured that ACT’s twentieth birthday celebrations have got off to a great start.

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With Tarantella (ACT, 2009)—his last studio recording excluding the career-spanning Signature Edition 3 (ACT, 2010) compilation— Lars Danielsson raised the bar on a string of recordings demonstrating increased evolution on all fronts. If Liberetto doesn't exhibit the same degree of incremental stylistic growth that Tarantella did over previous albums including Pasodoble (ACT, 2007) and Mélange Bleu (ACT, 2007), it does represent its own milestone, one where Danielsson's astute choice of players becomes as important as the music they play.

Liberetto expands on Tarantella's masterful mix of elegant lyricism, unerring groove and Euro-centric classicism. While the configuration of his group is the same—a piano/guitar/bass/drums quartet occasionally augmented with trumpet—Danielsson opts for an almost entirely new ensemble, with only John Parricelli returning, and it's a great choice. The British guitarist—largely a session player who's also rubbed shoulders with artists including trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and saxophonist Andy Sheppard—plays largely a supportive role, primarily on nylon-stringed guitar, and delivers a brief but impressive solo on Danielsson's "Driven to Daylight," a track propelled forward by the bassist's robust tone and percussive approach.

Parricelli is essential to Danielsson's "Orange Market," which begins gently—its winding melody doubled by the guitarist and Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan (here going by his first name only), replacing Tarantella's Leszek Możdżer—but gradually picks up steam as a theme-driven bass solo leads to Tigran pushing into territory familiar for fans of pianist Esbjorn Svensson's e.s.t. trio. There's an even more direct connection, with e.s.t.'s Magnus Ostrom assuming the drum chair after Tarantella's Eric Harland. Not that Tigran plays anything like the late Swedish pianist—nor does Danielsson sound anything like e.s.t.'s Dan Berglund. But as the song builds to Liberetto's most powerful peak, the trio of Tigran, Danielsson and Öström works a repetitive series of changes with the same kind of relentless drive and exhilarating climactic build.

Aside from four pieces written/co-written/arranged by Tigran, the bulk of Liberetto comes from Danielsson's pen, the pianist's opening "Yerevan" suggesting an electro-acoustic confluence not heard since Mélange Bleu, featuring trumpeter Arve Henriksen's harmonized trumpet and Parricelli's in-the-weeds guitar swells. Still, what most distinguishes Liberetto's largely acoustic set from recent predecessors is its inherent intensity, even in its quietest moments. While the title track and, in particular, the sing-song approach to "Ahdes Theme" remain as gentle and painfully beautiful as some of the bassist's best writing, the interaction and commitment amongst this particular group of musicians is deeper, more immediate and, in some cases, more flat-out visceral than anything that's come before.

Danielsson's had some great groups in the past, but with his newfound musical soul mate Tigran—the two meeting a scant week or two before the recording—this one demands the opportunity to discover where longevity might lead. An exceptional and compelling debut for Danielsson's new lineup, what Liberetto delivers is ultimately but a promise of greater things to come—hopefully a beginning, and not an ending.

Track Listing: Yerevan; Liberetto; Day One; Orange Market; Hymnen; Svensk Låt; Hov arek sarer djan; Party on the Planet; Tystnaden; Ahdes Theme; Driven to Daylight; Blå Ängar.

Personnel: Lars Danielsson: bass, cello, Wurlitzer piano (8); Tigran: piano, vocals (7); John Parricelli: guitar; Arve Henriken: trumpet; Magnus Öström: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ACT Music | Style: Modern Jazz

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AllAboutJJazz : Written by Bruce Lindsay July 3, 2011
Leszek Mozdzer: Komeda Krzysztof Komeda, the Polish musician and composer who died, age 38, in 1969, was a key figure in the emergence of European jazz, and remains a major source of inspiration for musicians across the continent. On Komeda, his ACT solo album debut, pianist Leszek Możdżer pays his own beautifully crafted tribute to his fellow countryman.

Despite his early death, Komeda's body of work is extensive and influential—showing that it was possible to take the ideas and themes of American jazz and create something that had its own uniquely Old World atmosphere. In the 21st century trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is probably the best-known exponent of Komeda's work, while the New York based Komeda Project, led by expat Polish musicians Andrzej Winnicki and Krzysztof Medyna, flies the flag for Komeda in the New World.

Możdżer is a classically-trained pianist, born in Gdansk, who discovered jazz as an 18 year-old and now moves comfortably between the classical concert stage and jazz performance, garnering numerous awards along the way. He's played with Stańko and has recorded with bassist Lars Danielsson. His classical background strongly influences the sound of Komeda—especially on the opening bars of "Svantetic," where he introduces the tune with some sparklingly delicate upper register flourishes.

Many of Komeda's best-known compositions were written for Roman Polanski movies such as Rosemary's Baby (1968) or Knife In The Water (1962), films whose air of suspense and fear was heightened by the tension and darkness in Komeda's music. While Możdżer's choice of compositions includes some of this music, he focuses firmly on the more lyrical and romantic side of Komeda's work. Still, "Sleep Safe And Warm," the lullaby from Rosemary's Baby, still retains some of that darkness—however beautiful the melody may be—while"Cherry" finds Możdżer developing a funkier, more aggressive, groove, and "Crazy Girl" and "Moja Ballada" both have an edgier tone.

Komeda's cover art is a piece by German artist Martin Noël. Its soft pastel tones are perhaps a little more restrained than the usual ACT cover images, but its calm and gentle beauty perfectly reflects the restrained loveliness of Możdżer's playing and Komeda's writing. ACT's selection of solo piano albums has another excellent addition in Komeda.

Track Listing: Svantetic; Sleep Safe And Warm; Ballad for Dernt; The Law And The Fist; Nighttime, Daytime Requiem; Cherry; Crazy Girl; Moja Ballada.

Personnel: Leszek Możdżer: piano.
Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: ACT Music

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Waldemar Świerzy from Jazz Greats posters series.
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2016: The Year in Jazz jazz article by Ken Franckling, published on January 2, 2017 at All About Jazz. Find more Best of / Year End articles

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LARS DANIELSSON : Liberetto II (Album 2012)

Well, here’s some perfect Sunday morning jazz. The Swedish bassist and cellist makes music that combines shimmering surface beauty with an easily-worn depth of thought and emotion that satisfies.

His core quartet has former E.S.T. drummer Magnus Öström on drums, Loose Tubes guitarist John Parricelli and Armenian piano sensation Tigran, and crucial guest players on this album include Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick.

His compositional leanings are classical, both Baroque and Romantic, but these melodies take jazz twists and the harmony is distinctly jazz with a hint of Scandinavian folk. It is is all gorgeously recorded, with Danielsson’s bass and Öström’s brushed drums particularly compelling when heard on headphones.

The opening Grace has Eick’s atmospheric trumpet and some classical guitar from Dominic Miller; Miniature is a delicate little gem with the leader on cello; Africa shows Danielsson’s marvellous phrasing and tone in a brief solo intro before heading in a sunny , skipping direction; Swedish Song has a characteristic chunky drive from Öström over which Tigran gets rich and dark.

Oh, and it sounds great on other days and at other times of day too.

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"Never change a winning team" – The old sporting wisdom can also be applied to music: When soul mates and perfectly matched musicians find one another, they are well advised to stick together. "Liberetto II" by the exceptional Swedish bassist and cellist Lars Danielsson is the living proof. Three years ago he found a quartet with the former e.s.t. drummer Magnus Öström, the British guitarist John Paricelli and most of all as a new dream team duo with Armenian pianist Tigran. It interpreted his compositions and realised his musical ideas more precisely than probably any ensemble before it.STERN magazine attested the Liberetto debut, which hit store shelves in 2012, a "mighty energy" that unleashes itself from a power centre of serenity. On "Liberetto II", Danielsson and his quartet take that energ...

line up
Lars Danielsson / bass, cello, piano (on 01),piano melody (on 03 & 09)
Tigran / piano, fender rhodes
John Parricelli / guitar
Magnus Öström / drums, percussion, electronics

Special Guests:
Mathias Eick / trumpet
Dominic Miller / guitar (on 01)
Cæcilie Norby / voice (on 12)
Zohar Fresco / percussion & vocals (on 09)

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Tracklist :
Grace 3:05
Passacaglia 4:25
Miniature 5:01
Africa 5:45
I Tima 4:26
II Blå 5:50
III Violet 3:02
Swedish Song 6:40
Eilat 4:25
View From The Apple Tree 2:30
The Truth 3:50
Beautiful Darkness 3:26

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