Arild Andersen Celebration

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Arild Andersen
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Celebration
WORKS: Celebration
PERFORMER: Arild Andersen (bass), Scottish National Jazz Orchestra/Tommy Smith
CATALOGUE NO: 2790947

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Detractors will no doubt assert that this album represents the ECM label’s long-standing love affair with itself. It’s a point of view, certainly, given that this is a collection of pieces by artists on the ECM roster arranged by others on the same roster and performed by soloists on said roster. Happily, though, none of this has to do with the music as we hear it or, indeed, the euphonious production, both of which are compelling.

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra can always be relied upon to eschew the lumbering excesses of the big band idiom and is much at home here, dealing with a set that runs the gamut from elegantly warped swing to upscaled chamber music. Both Andersen and Smith take the whole thing on board with aplomb while never once losing their identities. It’s a shame not to see jazz legend Kenny Wheeler’s name anywhere, though.

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Roger Thomas