Saturday, July 21, 2012

Raoul Bjorkenheim/Anders Nilsson/Gerald Cleaver - Kalabalik (DMG ARC, 2012)

This is a jazz power trio consisting of Raoul Bjorkenheim and Anders Nilsson on electric guitars and Gerald Cleaver on drums. The music is very exciting with the guitars taking turns supporting and leading each other and also goading one another into greater and greater heights of improvisational fancy. Recorded live at the Downtown Music Gallery in New York City during early 2011, the music was collectively improvised in the moment but it is hard to tell because the trio works so well as an organic unit. “Swirling Skies” and “Vortex” are explosive advanced jazz workouts that meld the best of the complexity of jazz fusion with the loudness and strength of progressive rock. It’s not just slash ‘n’ burn though, they develop the music through several other moods like slippery and droning tracks “Robot Tango” and “Saga Raga” before finally culminating in the haunting and mesmerizing slow ballad “Descension.” This album is a fine snapshot of like minded musicians meeting mindfully in time to create excellent music that is both powerful and thoughtful. The music remained enjoyable and exciting throughout and the variety of moods and feelings kept the music continually fresh. Kalabalik -

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