Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anders Nilsson's AORTA Ensemble (Kopasetic, 2009)

Brooklyn guitarist and composer Anders Nilsson plays an exciting brand of jazz on this album, touching on progressive rock, and avant-garde classical along the way. Joining him on this album are Mattias Carlson and Cennet J├Ânsson on saxophones, David Carlsson on electric bass, Ken Filiano on acoustic bass and Michael Evans and Peter Nilsson on drums. The album opens with "Soundfear" which has a slow and spacey sound scape, slowly building with electric guitar and percussion. Swirling bowed bass and saxophone fights to be heard amidst the emerging cacophony, before things mellow out at bit for the conclusion. Strong electric guitar on "Tuning In" sets a prog rock like feel, then the saxophones bubble up strong and deep evoking a Miles Davis Dark Magus feel. One of the saxophones breaks free to solo with some nice drumming before clearing the decks for a very impressive bass interlude. The short "Nacken" is a short interlude for electric guitar and flute with bowed bass, introducing the epic "3D" which probes the musical seascape like a sonar sending out pings of yearning guitar.The saxophones and drums take over, moving into a very cool improvised section. "Vortex" wraps things up with strong full band improvisation, a collectively improvised cacophony that is very exciting, led by rock influenced guitar and drums. According to Nilsson, the group is an experiment in multidimensional music that pays attention to background, middle ground, and foreground, along the lines of Blue Note era Wayne Shorter or the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It works very well and the music the group makes is consistently interesting and exciting.

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