Tag Archives: Vol. 2

Free Jazz review by Stefan Wood

CF 293Kullhammar/Zetterberg/Aalberg – Basement Sessions Vol 2 (CF 293)
Jonas Kullhammar’s Basement Sessions: Volume 2 is an excellent album, confident and powerful, influenced by and adding to the great tradition of hard bop sax/bass/drum trios like Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Ornette Coleman, and Dexter Gordon. This album is a tribute to a trio led by Elvin Jones, who, with Joe Farrell and Jimmy Garrison, released two albums on Blue Note — Puttin’ it Together, and Ultimate.

The trio of Jonas Kullhammar, Espen Aalberg and Torbjorn Zetterberg were clearly drawing from these sessions as inspiration for the Basement Sessions. Drummer Aalberg, composer of most of the compositions, evokes the spirit of those Blue Note sessions in track like Gluck, One for Joe, Elvin’s Birthday Song and Moserobie Blues, with Kullhammar punching and parrying playfully thoughout, and Zetterberg laying the solid rhythms to provide the glue between the two. Yet while upholding this tradition, they are cognizant of the contemporary music scene, and tracks like Moksha and Triton, they become more contemplative and abstract without being too obtuse.

Kullhammar has had, throughout his career, one foot in traditional hard bop and the other in contemporary improvisational music, and his efforts to combine both and make meaningful, urgent jazz in the 21st century make for compelling listening. With the combined efforts of Aalberg and Zetterberg, Kullhammar has put out one of his best efforts in years.

Jazz.pt review by Bernardo Alavares

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.

All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

CF 293Kullhammar – Aalberg – Zetterberg: Basement Sessions Vol. 2 (CF 293)
This is the second installment of the Swedish trio’s manifold and largely, hard-hitting Basement Sessions motif for Clean Feed Records. And while the artists incorporate a high level of experimentation, they intertwine old school jazz values into the big picture via structured compositions and free-flight improvisations amid an aggregation of contrasting hues, capacious soundscapes and more. From a trio standpoint, the musicians bring quite a bit to the forefront. They expand, contract and generate some blazing, red-zone like turbulence with a few sizzling, free-bop style workouts

Reedman Jonas Kullhammar uses the Hungarian clarinet-like instrument taragato on the opening track, “Moksha.” He projects an off-center soundstage with this single reed, woodwind instrument that has a plump and rather hollow resonance. But the artists shift the tide on a per-track basis. For instance on “Oort Cloud,” Kullhammar, performing on tenor sax, glides atop a jazz-waltz pulse with reverberating and singing notes, rooted with a bluesy swagger, leading to the band’s downpour of free form dialogues and accelerated by the rhythm section’s mounting force-field. However, the diverse mix is chock full of unanticipated surprises such as “Elvin’s Birthday Song,” highlighted by Kullhammar’s lighthearted and bouncy soprano sax phrasings, and steered by bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg who anchors the flow and pitch. Here, drummer Espen Aalberg expands the soundscape with sweeping fills and polyrhythmic beats.

The trio spirals into the stratosphere on the final track, “Moserobie Blues.” Kullhammar’s extended tenor sax solo, is perhaps a stylistic nod to John Coltrane’s awe inspiring hard bop solos, evidenced on Blue Trane (Blue Note Records, 1957), for example. Thus, Kullhammar’s rapidly paced and blistering harmonic progressions enact a whirlwind exposition atop the rhythm section’s whizzing pulse. Indeed, a high-caliber and multidimensional outing by this resourceful unit.