Tag Archives: Espen Aalberg

Jazz.pt review by Bernardo Álvares

CF 293Kullhammar / Zetterberg / Aalberg – Basement Sessions Vol.2 (CF 293)
Depois de um primeiro volume de “Basement Sessions” muito bem conseguido, Kullhammar, Zetterberg e Aalberg presenteiam-nos com o segundo. O trio de saxofone escandinavo (Aalberg é norueguês e os seus colegas suecos) leva-nos para uma cave num clube de jazz que não perdeu a autenticidade apesar das novas leis antitabaco.

O trio é formado por músicos no limbo das promessas do jazz europeu, mas já com um pé a ascender ao inferno do reconhecimento unânime internacional. Jonas Kullhammar tem-se afirmado como um dos grandes saxofonistas da sua geração, com uma sonoridade a rasgar um espaço livre entre o bop e o free.

Por cá conhecido pelo seu duo com a trompetista Susana Santos Silva (editaram juntos “Almost Tomorrow”, igualmente pela Clean Feed), Torbjörn Zetterberg é um contrabaixista omnipresente na cena musical sueca. Lidera o seu próprio grupo, o Torbjörn Zetterberg Hot Five. O baterista e percussionista Espen Aalberg divide a sua actividade entre a música “erudita” / clássica, colaborando regularmente com inúmeras orquestras e ensembles, e o jazz, mostrando cada vez mais competências neste género.

À excepção da terceira faixa (composta pelo veterano do jazz sueco Bernt Rosengren), as composições são todas de Aalberg. Sentimos o hard bop no sopro de Kullhammar (qual Sonny Rollings que passou a puberdade nos anos 1990) e nestas composições que representam hoje, fidedignamente, a tradição do que foi e pode ser agora o jazz. Mas o som deste trio vai igualmente beber às procuras melódicas orientais de músicos como o recentemente falecido Yusef Lateef ou o (também quase sueco) Don Cherry.

Não deixando de ser e soar a uma Europa loura, estes músicos conseguem, sem qualquer pretensiosismo, deixar a ressoar a musicalidade das procuras identitárias afro-americanas em torno de um universalismo nos momentos mais conturbados da luta “black”. Parte da história do jazz é reescrita neste álbum obrigatório de 2014, confirmando de uma vez por todas a qualidade de três grandes: Kullhammar, Zetterberg e Aalberg.
http://jazz.pt/ponto-escuta/2014/02/08/kullhammar-zetterberg-aalberg-basement-sessions-vol2-clean-feed/

Improjazz review by Luc Bouquet

KULLHAMMAR1 KULLHAMMAR2

Orkester Journalen review by Jörgen Östberg

JONAS KULLHAMMAR/ESPEN AALBERG/TORBJÖRN ZETTERBERG – Basement sessions vol. 1 (CF 246)
Betyg 4:••••

SNUS – Can’t stop snusing (Ayler records)
Betyg 3:•••
Saxofonisten Jonas Kullhammar är driftig som få. Han har ständigt nya projekt på gång, tycks det, och producerar sig på skiva i en omfattning som borde få David Murrays gillande. Som få  andra lyckas han förmedla den renaste spelglädje. Kullhammar vitaliserar onekligen vårt musikklimat. Men den stora produktionen innebär också att det stundom blir för mycket; man kan behöva en paus.   Efter en tids separation blir därför Kullhammars senaste cd – Basement sessions vol 1 (självklart räcker det inte med bara en volym!) – en daggfrisk uppenbarelse. Denna gång hörs han med en pianolös trio – Torbjörn Zetterberg bas, Espen Aalberg trummor – en sättning som kräver intensiv närvaro men som också kan verka befriande.   Huvudintrycket här är kalvar på grönbete, ett medryckande musicerande där musikerna lossar på tyglarna. Jonas Kullhammar spelar fantasifullt och med pondus – inte minst när han ägnar sig åt barytonsaxen och utnyttjar instrumentets hela register från bottenläget upp till flageoletterna.   Även på cdn Can’t stop snusing hörs en  pianolös trio: bas (Joel Grip), trummor (Didier Lasserre) och trumpet (Niklas Barnö).   Men den svensk-franska gruppen Snus töjer ytterligare på gränserna. Medan Kullhammars grupp verkar i gränslandet mellan det fria och det mer traditionella, och med tydliga kompositioner och tydlig puls, förefaller trumpettrions musik vara fritt improviserad (om nu något sådan verkligen existerar);  allt tycks vara tillkommet i stunden. Det gör väl Can’t stop snusing också mindre lättillgänglig.   Men skivan är spännande.   Bäst fungerar det, tycker jag, när det inte är fullt pådrag, utan de tre söker sig fram, ljudexperimenterar, när Lasserre lämnar slamret och när Grip har nära till stråken. Niklas Barnös är en uttrycksfull trumpetare med en personlig, nästan lite sluddrig diktion.   Heder åt Ayler records som ger ut denna musik.
http://www.orkesterjournalen.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2349:jonas-kullhammarespen-aalbergtorbjoern-zetterberg-basement-sessions-vol-1–snus-cant-stop-snusing-&catid=16:pa-skiva-&Itemid=100296

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Jonas Kullhammar/Torbjorn Zetterberg/Espen Aalberg – Basement Sessions Volume 1  (CF 246)
Creative modern improvised music has become a world phenomena. Anyone who listens to the total output in the genre in the last 20 years will be impressed, surely, with the development of players young and old who call the United States home, but the rest of the world is producing very good to excellent players in increasing numbers.   It’s of course been true of Europe for a long time. Today we look at a sax trio from Northern Europe, and what they did in a set titled Basement Sessions Volume 1 (Clean Feed 246). It’s Jonas Kullhammar, tenor and baritone, Torbjorn Zetterberg, double bass, and Espen Aalberg on drums.   Kullhammer has been making a name for himself in a series of recordings. He sounds especially primed on this one. He has sound and he does vertical invention with fluidity and soul. Perhaps the very lively collaboration of his rhythm team-mates inspired him to take things further. Zetterberg is a richly toned, very together player; Aalberg has drive and push on the drums.   It’s bluesy, modal, well-heated fare. The blowing vehicles are just right for the blowing that’s going on. It’s a very good showing from three very promising and together improvisers. It has roots but it blows over them with immediacy. So there you are!
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.pt/2012/07/jonas-kullhammar-torbjorn-zetterberg.html

Dig Jazz review by Peter Bornemar

Nytänkande i gamla banor. . Kolossalt effektivt och smittande. Kullhammar/Aalberg/Zetterberg-  The Basement Sessions vol.1 (CF 246)
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Mest imposant har Jonas Kullhammar alltid varit när han klivit fram med de tyngre medlemmarna i saxofonfamiljen. Som när han spelat bassax med exempelvis The Torbjörn Zetterberg Hot Five, eller när han fått fläska på med sin barytonsax.   På albumet The Basement Sessions Vol.1 varvar han mellan just barytonsax och tenorsax i musik som har sina rötter i den hårdaste av hard bop, men där samtliga sex låtar är originalkompositioner av honom själv, basisten Torbjörn Zetterberg eller trumslagaren Espen Aalberg. Den sistnämnde ett ankare i den norska jazzgruppen The Core, samtidigt som alla tre musikerna känner och har spelat med varandra i en rad olika sammanhang.   Musiken på The Basement Sessions Vol.1 handlar om autenticitet, men är milslångt från att på något sätt vara museal. I inledande As Tajm Goes By borrar sig Kullhammars barytonsax rakt ned i traditionen, men bara för att med full kraft svänga den runt i ett flöde av toner som tillåter sig både grymta och kvida på ett sätt som snarare hör samtiden till. Det är kolossalt effektivt, och smittande.   Barytonsaxen kommer fram även i den återhållsamt smygande Den Stora Väntan, där Aalbergs trummor och Zetterbergs bas har lika bärande roller. I 7th Father, Pontiac och Shadow åkallar Kullhammars spel på tenorsax en fritänkande Sonny Rollins, samtidigt som Zetterberg och Aalberg ger musiken en suverän stuns med sitt följsamma spel.

The Basement Sessions Vol. 1 är ett strålande exempel på hur nytänkande i gamla banor går till.
http://www.digjazz.se/Diggat.html#Basement

The New York City Jazz Record review by Robert Iannapollo

Nacka Forum – Fee Fi Rum (Moserobie)
Zanussi Thirteen – Live (Moserobie)
Kullhammar/Zetterberg/Aalberg – Basement Sessions, Vol. 1 (CF 246)
With his first album Salut (2000), recorded with his quartet, Swedish saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar came seemingly from out of nowhere to make a major impact on the Swedish jazz scene. Released on his Moserobie label, Kullhammar soon established the label as an operation documenting similar-minded players on the Swedish jazz scene (trumpeter Magnus Broo, singer Lina Nyberg, et. al.). Kullhammar’s quartet has been the mainstay of the label and in 2010 celebrated its tenth anniversary with the release of a superb eight-CD boxed set.

Nacka Forum is one of Kullhammar’s alternate bands. A piano-less quartet, it features Goran Kajfeš (cornet, trumpet, electronics), Johan Berthling (bass) and Kjell Nordeson (drums and vibes). In addition to tenor, Kullhammar appears on baritone and bass saxes, piccolo, clarinet and mini-moog. A little more diverse than his standard quartet’s modus operandi of rousing freebop, there’s still a healthy dose of that on Fee Fi Rum as well as the musical wit for which Kullhammar is noted. Several of the pieces are ostinato-based and handled with a plomb. These ostinatos never get tedious due to Nordeson’s expansive, fluid drums, always keeping the rhythm interesting. Kajfeš’ spiky cornet seeks out weird trajectories and he intertwines nicely with Kullhammar’s reeds when they are playing in tandem, with the cornet/baritone sax combination particularly effective. While much of this is strong, energetic contemporary jazz, when they slow down for a ballad ( “Jimmy”) or a group textural exploration, the contrast is effective. Also mention must be made of the surprising use of timpani on “Borkum Riff”. Although Kullhammar’s freebop-based quartet has the cachet, Nacka Forum at its best sometimes eclipses Kullhammar’s main group.

Zanussi Five is one of Moserobie’s more popular groups, with three albums to their credit. Usually a quintet (three saxophones plus bass and drums) helmed by bassist Per Zanussi, for Live he adds a trombonist, guitarist, extra drummer and five more saxophonists (Kullhammar among them). With this expanded line up, the group becomes a wild, braying beast with beautiful massed choruses, screaming boisterous passages, plenty of creative soloing and more. When he is audible, guitarist Stian Westerhus adds an unexpected, edgy electronic tension, particularly effective when the saxophonists are going at it full-tilt. The compositions showcase the larger ensemble well. Several are rearranged from earlier releases (Ghibli, Body And Zeuhl, Zoanthropy 2) and an arrangement of Ornette ‘s “Street Woman” is one of the more unique handlings of the Coleman composition. Special mention has to be made of drummers Gerd Nilssen and Per Oddvar Johansen, who push this lumbering beast of a group to staggering heights. To his credit, Kullhammar works within the ensemble and is not the star of the set. The real star is the full 13-piece ensemble.

Kullhammar the improviser is heard at length on Basement Sessions, Vol. 1, recorded with bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg (a charter member of Kullhammar’s main quartet) and drummer Espen Aalberg. One gets the impression that Kullhammar just likes to blow and there’s always a joyful cadence to his playing. He seems to relish challenging himself and playing away from his main group is one way to get refreshed. On this disc, the absence of a pianist frees him up for more stratospheric flights, especially on the opener “As Tajm Goes By”. But for all the energy expended on the uptempo blowouts that dominate the disc, perhaps the best track is “Den Stora Vantan”, a baritone exploration, taken at a funereal pace. Kullhammar seems to wrench every sound he can from the instrument during the track’s nine minutes. The album’s skeletal themes allow for plenty of open space and seem to inspire the entire trio, making for a satisfying listen.

Music and More review by Tim Niland

Kullhammar/Aalberg/Zetterberg – Basement Sessions Vol. 1 (CF 246)
In the notes on the Clean Feed Records web site, they are almost apologetic about this album, likening it to a refugee from the “hard bop museum.” I think they doth protest too much, because this is an excellent album of crackling modern jazz that does nod to Rollins and Coltrane, but makes no bones about going its own way in a thoroughly modern fashion. The band is a collective of Jonas Kullhammar on saxophones, Espen Aalberg on drums and Torbjurn Zetterberg on bass. The opening “As Tajm Goes By” sets the tone for the remainder of the album with a fast uptempo trio improvisation bookending an open bass and percussion feature. The rubber really meets the road on ”7th Father” where the band takes off at a very fast clip, featuring Kullhammar great saxophone (tenor or baritone?) and using overblown accents to ramp up the excitement. The whole trio is playing like gangbusters on this one, strong freebop anchored by great drumming. Slow bass and almost surreal saxophone playing open ”Den Stora Vantan” with low blowing down deep giving the music an ominous feel of a late night foghorn cutting across a lonely sea, giving way to deep peals of anguished saxophone, making for a true dark night of the soul. With that excoriating performance out of their system, ”Pontiac” develops as a three way stylish modern jazz improvisation. Kullhammar builds tension with a repetitive figure before breaking into a powerful solo. This is well controlled and articulated jazz with a great rhythmic base from the bass and drums. Aalberg takes a brief drum solo to open ”Shadow” making way for strong bass and saxophone with a piercing tone. The trio networks well at fast tempos as Kullhammar breaks free for an exciting statement. The passion builds as he takes his solo into the upper reaches of the saxophone and spreads the wealth for a nice bass and drums feature.
http://jazzandblues.blogspot.pt/