Eight Domestic Challenges

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Jazzland
ALBUM TITLE: Wibutee
PERFORMER: Hakon Kornstad (ts), Per Zanussi (b), Wetle Holte (d), Sternklang (elec)
CATALOGUE NO: 014 740-2

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Wibutee made its debut album in 1999, but it has taken until this, the ensemble’s second album, to define its voice. Mediated by the eloquent sound of Hakon Kornstad on tenor saxophone, Wibutee has dropped the keyboards and vocals heard on its first album and replaced them with ‘Sternklang’ on electronics, which in today’s parlance means a DJ on turntables and sampling machine.

More and more sonically curious groups are beginning to integrate turntables into their ensembles, not just to provide rhythm tape loops and hip-hop style scratching, but to explore a whole range of sounds to create a new world of artificial realities that provides a new kind of freedom for the improviser. Kornstad is well up to the challenge.

A prodigiously gifted young man (he is also one of Norway’s leading graphic designers who is now providing the distinctive imprimatur of the Jazzland label), he also leads his own Kornstad Trio, which gives reign to his free jazz impulses. With Wibutee, however, all the members of the group are equal, concerned to integrate their considerable collective talent into an integrated ensemble sound.

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As might be expected from a contemporary jazz group, there is a certain amount of post-modern eclecticism (contemporary classical music, house, ambient and free jazz), but of course it is the end not the means that counts, and on a track like ‘First There Was Jazz’ the group achieves its artistic ends with agreeable fastidiousness and luminous clarity. Stuart Nicholson