Sunday, March 29, 2015

Atomic - Lucidity (Jazzland, 2015)

Atomic is a stalwart modern jazz band from Scandinavia featuring Havard Wiik on piano, Fredrik Ljungkvist on saxophone and clarinet, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on bass and Hans Hulboekmo on drums, replacing Paal Nilssen-Love. The music is their trademark free-bop, beginning with “Laterna Interfult” which opens with a mysterious melody before diving into some more powerful improvised sections, where the music stutters and sways, and the horns weave and joust around each other. Ljungkvist breaks lose on saxophone, before stopping on a dime, moving the music back to a more passive position. There are sections of faster, choppier collective improvisation which are quite exciting as is the nimble way that everyone can drop out to give Haker-Flaten a well deserved bass solo. The full band returns for a rousing and swinging conclusion. More beautiful bass playing is featured on “A New Junction” which patiently adds instruments developing a slow simmer. Spacious and spare, there is room to move for trumpet and clarinet, then involving droplets of piano. “Lucidity” jumps out of the gate hard with the full band firing on all cylinders. A punchy trumpet solo from Broo, is kicked in the pants nicely with Hulboekmo’s heavy pulse. They ramp down to a more abstract section, before Wiik gleefully leads them back into the back into the fray with trumpet and saxophone reaching for the sky about the powerful rhythm team. Flute like trumpet from Broo along with open ended piano draws subtle shades on “Start/Stop” before they jump up with a more complex group improvisation including a nice section for clarinet and bass, followed by very heavy hitting piano and drums accented by trumpet squeals. “Major” has a noir-ish haunted opening, Things spring to life with throbbing fast bass (IHF is just epic throughout the whole album) pushing Broo’s trumpet ever higher. The full band comes together, rocketing into orbit with an excellent collectively improvised section. Atomic has been around for a while now and their music continues to evolve, moving from jazz to free improvisation and back. The band is a group of very talented individual musicians, but when the come together, the whole is definitely better than the sum of its parts. Lucidity - amazon.com

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