Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Anna Hogberg Attack - Lena (Omlott, 2020)

The second album by alto saxophonist Anna Hogberg is as  blistering and inspiring as her first one. Leading a sextet that also Elin Forkelid on tenor saxophone, Niklas Barnö on trumpet, Lisa Ullén on piano, Elsa Bergman on bass and Anna Lund on drums, the music the group creates is a fresh look at modern and avant jazz. The opening track, "pappa kom hem" uses a long burst of deep saxophone to clear the decks for what is to come, with the other saxophone and bombarding bass and drums joining for a full frontal assault of extraordinary free jazz that sounds wonderful and bracing. "det är inte för sent" has chattering percussion finely textured with cymbals with drops of open percussion and piano. Barnö's trumpet arcs around the other two instruments, keeping the mysterious sound going, with other horns coming in to create a powerfully granular full band sound. Full bodied rhythm section with saxophone ushers in "dansa margit" where an excellent theme launches the musicians into a series of solos beginning with tenor saxophone backed with ripe piano, bass and drums, and then ditching them for a raw and exciting unaccompanied section. The band comes together for a withering collective improvisation that is uniformly excellent, including a return to the powerful thematic statement. "tjuv" uses manic piano, bass and drums to excellent effect, and the horns come swaggering in righteously with a quick memorable theme. A wild piano interlude backed with bass and drums creates a really out of sight trio improvisation, with the horns riffing along. The focus shifts to the horns without rhythm, improvising together in space beautifully, and this episodic performance then turns to the full band integrated and led by a fine alto saxophone solo that digs in grandly. A powerhouse collective improvisation evolves from here, with everyone pulling in the same direction and achieving outstanding results. Abstract inside/outside piano and percussion is used on "pärlemor," with the horns working together for a lush sound. Ullén's piano dances around bowed bass and skittish drums framed by horns. Finally, "äntligen" focuses on trumpet and thick bass, as strong delineated trumpet with sharp swarm of bass and drums play, followed by the full accompaniment a more stately pace, gradually slow things down, allowing room for individual instruments to be heard. This album worked very well and was a success on every level. The band played very well together and solos were exciting and invigorating. This prismatic burst of light and color is just what we need during these difficult times, and it stands as one of the best albums yet of this strange year. Anna Hogberg Attack - Lena - Bandcamp

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