Saturday, May 02, 2020

Gard Nilssen´s Supersonic Orchestra - If You Listen Carefully The Music Is Yours (Odin Records, 2020)

Always on the lookout for something fresh, Norwegian drummer and composer Gard Nilssen formed this sixteen piece ensemble featuring three drummers, three bassists and ten horn players, most of them saxophonists. Recorded live at the Molde International Jazz Festival in 2019, where Nilssen was artist in residence, this album packs a powerful and exciting punch, straddling the line between composition and pure improvisation. "Premium Processing Fee" opens the album with a proud exciting blast off theme from the horns, providing a section of freedom resolving into a brazen opening for the saxophones. Taut driving solos over strong bass and drums are key, with riffing horns for support, creating an exciting powerhouse of a performance. A bold trumpet solo backed by raging drums emerges making the music simmer and boil with intensity, falling back to a cacophonous full band blowout. Their sound becomes abstract as the horns blow quieter sounds without the rhythm team, as the group eases into "Bøtteknott Elastic Circle," which moves in subtle waves before the drums and percussion crash in, sparking everything to life. Proudly riffing horns announce a saxophone soloist, who nimbly joins the excellent bass and drums to create a strong and rhythmically intense feature. "Teppen Dance" features an excellent lengthy bass solo to open, with the band slowly entering after four minutes. Stolid and defiant sounding waves of horns are constructed, as a provocative saxophone solo framed by towering horns and constructive percussion carves the air. Subtle percussion, becoming more complex, horns sway in creating a flowing sensation as "City of Roses" emerges. Light horns dance around, swelling into a more complex formation, then signing off. There is a subtle patient opening for basses on "Jack" with complex percussion added. Everything comes together with a potent rhythm that invigorates the horns, and tenor saxophone leaping out for a solo backed by the percolating rhythm, building to a fast and exciting collective improvisation with excellent dramatic playing from the whole group. Finally, "Bytta Bort Kua Fikk Fela Igjen" develops percussion filled with potential energy, building every faster as the horns slide in, leading to a storming section of swaggering brass in a wonderfully exciting concluding section. Their collective improvisation leads to an excellent conclusion of this very successful and well executed modern jazz album. If You Listen Carefully the Music is Yours - amazon.com

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