Neck of the Woods

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COMPOSERS: Daniel Herskedal; Marius Neset
LABELS: Edition
ALBUM TITLE: Neck of the Woods
WORKS: Neck of the Woods
PERFORMER: Daniel Herskedal (tuba) & Marius Neset (sax)


Once electric recording superseded the acoustic process, enabling the string bass to be heard, the tuba became Cinderella, confined to New Orleans-style marching bands or buried in big band arrangements. Despite Bill Barber’s tuba appearance on Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool, or Ray Draper proving bop possible on the big horn, the tuba has enjoyed few moments in the jazz limelight.

Here Herskedal takes up the baton, providing rhythmic ostinatos on up-tempo numbers, astonishingly mixing notes from contrasting registers. On slower numbers his faultless phrasing and steady tone are impressive. At any tempo he reaches depths which sound implausible even on tuba. Neset weaves aerobatic melodies around him. The pastoral interludes among the mainly hard-edged funkiness of Neset’s debut, Golden XPlosion, are complemented by his lyricism here, predictably evoking Jan Garbarek on tracks like ‘Swan Island’.


Barry Witherden