ALBERTO PINTON / JONAS KULLHAMMAR / TORBJÖRN ZETTERBERG / KJELL NORDESON – Chant (CF 156)
Unlike your reviewer, smart Italians know that the sooner they’ll leave the native country, the better their lives will turn for, in a direct proportion to the chances inevitably gained. In the case of baritone saxophonist and composer Alberto Pinton, Sweden has been the land in which his musical conceptions started to get the proper diffusion. This quartet – recorded in Coimbra, Portugal, during the month of July in 2008 – comprises musicians who collaborate together recurrently in a multitude of different combinations, gathered in this particular configuration upon incitement of Clean Feed’s honcho Pedro Costa.
The sense of enthusiasm, divertissement and satisfaction manifested by the players throughout the extensive program is literally touchable. The group performs superb contrapuntal themes neatly, obeying to the rules of respect when necessary, at all times ready to self-fragment and become four separate lady-killing units. Eloquence devoid of affected postures, the artists intent in establishing the truth transiting in the mind at that very moment. The double sax attack brought by Pinton, who also plays clarinet, and Kullhammar – on baritone, besides a mean tenor – is extravagant at best, elegantly moderate (so to speak) at worst. They’re aware of where they are at every minute, displaying methods for audience gratification through brilliant samples of erudite instrumental irresponsibility. Bassist Zetterberg and drummer Nordeson (featured on vibes, too, in “Let Ring”) form a proactive rhythm section that contributes to add fuel to the fire in more than one occasion; just check “Chantpagne” to realize how agitation and lucidity can sometimes coexist without damage.
Obstinate, efficient and often amusing, this music is destined to keep you heart-warming company for a good while. An excellent attempt of tearing down the walls that divide free jazz from predetermined composition, minus the excesses of diligence that would transform the whole in a sterile exercise. On the contrary, these pieces approach a combustible status quite frequently, but never deflagrate into cheapness.
Pinton – Kullhammar – Zetterberg – Nordeson – Chant (CF 156)
A Coimbra, patria del fado “accademico,” il festival jazz offre sempre una programmazione molto affine all’estetica dell’ottima etichetta portoghese Clean Feed, e in piena sintonia con il suo patron Pedro Costa. Non è la prima volta che formazioni di area svedese pubblicano per Clean Feed registrazioni live fatte al festival: accadde anche per il tenor sassofonista Fredrik Nordstrom e si ripete ora con Chant.
L’etichetta è attenta ad avanguardia e free jazz, ma come per Nordstrom così ora dà spazio a un lavoro non particolarmente ardito, dall’estetica bop. Energia e forma sono coordinate importanti, e a farsi notare è il particolare equilibrio con cui la formazione si muove tra strutture e improvvisazione, riferibili all’estetica della Blue Note degli anni ’50-’60 di chiara radice afroamericana.
Il lavoro ha avuto origine dalla proposta di Pedro Costa, fondatore della Clean Feed, ad Alberto Pinton, italiano d’origine ma svedese d’adozione, di fare qualcosa con Jonas Kullhammar, Torbjörn Zetterberg e Kjell Nordeson, già mebri dell’ottetto del bassista Torbjörn Zetterberg.
Musica in larga parte improvvisata, basata su accordi musicali ed eseguita ottimamente. L’intensità, l’interazione e l’entusiasmo sono riusciti a fare da collante viste le ottime condizioni della performance: chi assisteva aveva di fronte proprio quello che si aspettava, e i musicisti non potevano che gioire e beneficiare dell’entusiasmo del pubblico e, come si legge nelle note di copertina, sentirsi straordinariamente a proprio agio e coccolati.
Un buon lavoro con qualche sprazzo più esplorativo, ma che si basa principalmente su equilibrio e moderazione, musica e musicisti sempre molto controllati, quasi da meditazione…
Alberto Pinton / Jonas Kulhammar / Torbjorn Zetterberg / Kjell Nordeson – Chant (CF 156)
This beefy quartet was drawn from existing Stockholm bands by baritone saxophonist/clarinetist Alberto Pinton at the suggestion of Clean Feed producer Pedro Costa. As bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg describes it in his liner note, it’s half of his octet, half of tenor and baritone saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar’s quartet, half of Kullhammar and drummer Kjell Nordeson’s quartet Nacka Forum and more than half of Pinton’s quintet. The group that emerges from three days of live recording in Coimbra, Portugal is a free-bop powerhouse, the two-saxophone frontline producing a startling breadth of sound. The compositions are particularly strong, with four from Pinton and three each by Kullhammar and Zetterberg.
Kullhammer’s abbreviated heads on “Chantarello” and “Chantpagne” provide all the momentum the band needs, feeding the tenor saxophonist’s rhythmic drive as he mixes naked major triads, honks and offside commentary with both acuity and intensity. Pinton and Zetterberg provide more developed and often more reflective pieces, including the former’s complex yet lyrical “Soul Samurai” and the latter’s richly conceived and voiced “Den Stora Väntan,” which develops into ear-bleed sonics from the two saxophonists, at times giving the sensation of a factory with feeling.
It’s clear here (and from Mats Gustafsson’s example) that Sweden encourages the most forceful members of Adolphe Sax’s family. Pinton’s drive and sonic template are titanic and Kullhammar is comparable when he turns to the lower horn. At times, in fact, Kulhammar overblows the lower range of his tenor in a way that’s uncannily baritone-like and it’s all pushed along by the urgings of Zetterberg and Nordeson, as forceful and thoughtful a rhythm section as you could hope. Except for Nordeson, who has a strong presence in San Francisco, the musicians aren’t well known outside of Scandinavian jazz circles, but there’s a combination of thought and passion in this music that makes it essential hearing.
Pinton/Kullhammar/Zetterberg/Nordeson – Chant (CF 156)
Alberto Pinton (sax e clarinete), Jonas Kullhammar (sax), Torbjörn Zetterberg (contrabaixo) e Kjell Nordeson (bateria) são quatro pilares do moderno jazz escandinavo e têm abundante produção (muito recomendável) na editora sueca Moserobie. Embora participem activamente nos discos uns dos outros, nunca se tinham reunido com esta geometria precisa, sugerida pela Clean Feed.
Chant é um disco de fanfarras possuídas, riffs poderosos, saxofones engalfinhados em disputas acesas, avassaladores tsunamis rítmicos. Nem tudo é som & fúria: “Den Sotra Vantan” é recolhido e hierático, cortado por litanias dilacerantes; “Let Ring”, com Nordeson em vibrafone, é misterioso e impressionista, “Martyricon” faz lembrar os Masada na sua vertente klezmer/latin jazz.
Pinton-Kullhammar-Zetterberg-Nordeson – Chant (CF 156)
If you are in the States, you may not be familiar with Alberto Pinton (baritone sax, clarinet), Jonas Kullhammar (tenor and baritone sax), Torbjorn Zetterberg, (acoustic bass) and Kjell Nordeson (drums, vibes). Yet if you listen to their recent Chant (Clean Feed) you will realize that it has been your loss.
The unusual line up of two baritones (doubling on other saxes) plus rhythm gives the session a bottom heavy texture much of the time but it sounds fresh. The band winds its way through ten compositional vehicles that they feel comfortable playing within. It’s a free-ish date with lots of improvisational space for all the players. None of them strikes me as on the verge of becoming a major stylist but that does not stop the music from being captivating and well-thought out.
Those who love the baritone will find this album to their liking. Those who like a free date with some melodic heads and a steady pulse (at least half of the time) will also find this enjoyable.
Pinton / Kullhammar / Zetterberg / Nordeson – Chant (CF 156)
Chant del cuarteto Pinton – Kullhammar – Zetterberg – Nordeson es una gratísima sorpresa. En formación de dos saxos (Alberto Pinton y Jonas Kullhammar), contrabajo (Torbjörn Zetterberg) y batería/vibráfono (Kjell Nordeson), los cuatro músicos son los autores de todos los temas de la grabación. Su propuesta entronca con un jazz potente y energético en el que aparecen algunas referencias como las del saxofonista Hamiet Bluiett o la del trío sueco de free-jazz Mount Everest Trio. Si bien otras propuestas lideradas por Pinton entroncaban con un post-bop con fuertes reminiscencias a la música de artistas como Dave Holland y su quinteto, en esta grabación su emparejamiento con el saxofonista Jonas Kullhammar hace que explote una nueva faceta, más libre y mucho más interesante, tanto en sus aspecto de instrumentista como de compositor.
Pinton / Kullhammar / Zetterberg / Nordeson – Chant (CF 156)
Recorded live in Coimbra, Portugal, this Swedish quartet and the enthusiastic audience do exactly what you would expect: play music and have fun. The four musicians have played together before in one or the other constellation. Alberto Pinton plays baritone saxophone, Jonas Kullhammar tenor, Torbjörn Zetterberg bass and Kjell Nordeson drums and vibes. As Zetterberg writes in the liner notes “This band is half of my own octet, half of Jonas’s quartet, half of Kjell and Jonas’s quartet “Nacka Forum” and more than half of Alberto’s quintet”, so there is no big surprise that there is a perfect fit, even if Clean Feed boss Pedro Costa asked them to perform together. The band does not break any new ground. Even if the music is largely improvised, themes and rhythms are part of the agreed musical concepts. But they play well, and what is more, with lots of intensity, interaction and enthusiasm, really enjoying themselves … and the audience, whether they play uptempo or downtempo, jazzy or bluesy, 60s or 00s, dark or light-footed. Fun.