Nils Petter Molvaer

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Nils Petter Molvaer
LABELS: Sony/OKeh
ALBUM TITLE: Nils Petter Molvaer: Switch
WORKS: Switch
PERFORMER: Nils Petter Molvaer (trumpet, guitar), Erland Dahlen (drums), Geir Sundstøl (guitars), Morten Øvenild (piano) etc
CATALOGUE NO: 888837477420

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The special characteristics of ‘Scandi Jazz’, its variants and offshoots, have long been recognised. In recent years the Norwegian scene has excelled itself: witness percussionist Håkon Stene, saxophonist Mette Rasmussen, Moskus and Pixel etc. ECM kicked it all off, but lately the enterprising Hubro label has carried the torch. With this superb new release by Nils Petter Molvær, OKeh/Sony is keeping its end up.

Molvær built his reputation playing in Masqualero, alongside bassist Arild Andersen, drummer Jon Christensen and saxophonist Tore Brunborg. His subsequent experiments with rock, country and electronic elements broadened his sound, and remain part of his methodology. Here, his pellucid tone and sinewy lyrical lines curve, hover and soar over dark, lush washes from synthesisers and glittering, intricate patterns from guitars and percussion. There is a sudden rude awakening with the heavy funk of ‘Bathroom’, but mostly the music is reflective, floating, graceful yet thrilling, like (excuse the cliché) hang gliding over a fjord. A beautiful album.

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Barry Witherden