Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anna Hogberg - Attack (Omlott Records, 2016)

This very exciting sextet can do a lot more than attack; they play a variety of moods and modes, from wild free jazz to a more atmospheric style of music. The band consists of Anna Hogberg on alto saxophone, Elin Larsson on tenor and soprano saxophone, Malin Wattring on tenor and soprano saxophone, Lisa Ullen on piano, Elsa Bergman on bass and Anna Lund on drums. “Attack” is the opening track, which starts mild and ominous with low toned sounds of saxophone and drips of piano and percussion, but develops into an interesting theme by the saxophones. There is a saxophone solo that gets wilder as the other two deftly supports one featured horn and the music grows faster and harsher with squalls of piano and percussion before throttling back to the atmospheric sounds for the conclusion. Drops of piano and percussion sound free and open on “Familjen” with deeply plucked bass, skittering piano and drums. The horns play a gentle theme, as if calming the savage beast within. There is a nimble tenor saxophone solo that nicely rises in power, supported by other horns and a solid beat. “Borderline” is an absolute blast with raw saxophones making the music simply ooze excitement and passion as it turns into a torrential rain of piano and percussion and a thrilling free for all, and the luscious sound of Hoberg’s alto saxophone solo tearing through the thicket. Bergman has an excellent bass solo to open “Lisa Med Kniven,” developing a nice rhythmic sound, and the piano slides in as the saxophones start to move in very classy subtle groove with percussion and different flavored saxophone playing music of many colors. Dark toned piano thunders through a solo feature, and saxophones come in strong, with a soloing horn jousting with the heavy free piano, making for a thrilling ride. Again there is a bright saxophone soloing along with the rhythm section making for lively stuff that is punchy and addicting. “Skoflikargränd” and “Regent” are short vignettes that have raw and slow saxophone probing, and piano that builds in with the percussion sounding like processional music. The music builds louder with strong drums and piano creating abstract squirting and skittish sounds with soft saxophone in the background. The saxophones develop a stark theme on the closing “Högberger,” with skittish percussion developing an excellent solo section. There is deft bowed bass and saxophones building the excitement of the music to a fever pitch. Tenor saxophone pushes gales of sound against exciting bass and percussion as fresh saxophones intertwine, pulling the music into exciting collective improvisation as piano slams into the music, goading on the waling saxophones and making for a very exciting free collective improvisation before slowing down to a quieter hymn like ending. This was a very good album of modern jazz; the musicianship is first rate and the fearless nature of the improvisations make for a highly recommended album. Anna Hogberg Attack - Omlott Records.

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