COMPOSERS: Eivind Aarset & Sonic Codex Orchestra
PERFORMER: Eivind Aarset (guitar), Gunnar Halle (trumpet) and other musicians
CATALOGUE NO: 273 1968
You’d not expect to hear many echoes of Armstrong, Parker or Coleman from Aarset, so in that respect this collection of performances from various festivals (plus one track recorded ‘as live’ in a rehearsal room) is fairly predictable.
Aarset is prominent among a group of highly talented and accomplished Norwegian musicians who have developed a jazz-rooted style that accommodates electronics, rock and contemporary classical elements with no signs of strain.
If some of his early work seemed to treat the electronic effects and processes as an end rather than a means, he has long since overcome this tendency.
Here he offers live versions of tunes which differ markedly from the studio recordings, yet the essential characteristics that impress his admirers (controlled trajectories that thread strong melodies into abstract soundscapes; dark, ominous atmospheres suffused with deep, subtle colours) remain.
Satisfying, yet often unsettling and always challenging, ‘dinner-jazz’ it ain’t. Barry Witherden