COMPOSERS: Arve Henriksen
LABELS: Rune Grommofon
ALBUM TITLE: The Nature of Connections
WORKS: The Nature of Connections
PERFORMER: Arve Henriksen (trumpet), Nils Økland, Gjermund Larsen (violin), Svante Henryson (cello), Mats Eilertson (bass), Audun Kleive (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: RCD2161
Connections indeed. This excellent album is like an elegant railway system linking jazz, folk, tango, Berlin cabaret music, middle- eastern music and the chamber music style of the post-serialist 20th-century conservatoire. But to describe it as such gives the impression of overcooking when in fact the whole project is a masterpiece of subtlety.
Henriksen’s take on the lineage of the cool, spacey trumpet is less than conventional here, seeing him summoning woodwind-like tones from the instrument which float benignly over the sound of a string-driven ensemble that in its turn adds a rich and not entirely predictable harmonic foundation to the music. The surprises, when they come, are effective but discreet: a gamelan-like riff is played as pizzicato harmonics, a delicate curlicue of a bass line underpins what sounds like a Gaelic lament, and a close-knit ensemble passage develops from a single phrase. The recorded sound balances detail and warmth.