Box set in ECM’s acclaimed Old & New Masters series reintroduces Arild Andersen’s first three leader dates for the label – Clouds In My Head, Shimri, and Green Shading Into Blue. Recorded between 1975 and 1978, none of these albums has previously been issued on compact disc, and this edition is eagerly awaited. The music traces Andersen’s personal evolution from ‘free’-inclined bassist to bandleader-composer and introduces some players who would prove important for the future of the music – amongst them an 18-year-old Jon Balke on the “Clouds” session.
Arild Andersen's Hyperborean is based on an Ancient Greek legend: according to the myth, the Hyperboreans lived beyond the north winds, where the sun god Apollo presided. Andersen has created an impressive song cycle that draws from contemporary instrumental, European jazz, jazz-rock and the distinctive ECM production sound. Andersen's playing is typically tasteful and the compositions are unpredictable and evocative, making Hyperborean another worthy addition to his catalog.
Arild Andersen's Electra was composed for the Spring Theater in Athens for their production. These "18 Scenes," as they are subtitled, represent various cues and serial music for the production of Sophocles' deeply moving classic. Andersen collaborates with both European and Greek musicians here, among them the great vocalist Savina Yannatou, guitarist Eivind Aarset, drummer Patrice Heral, and trumpeter Arve Henriksen. The music is heavily arranged, taut, and spacious. Everything is understated yet utterly dramatic.
"Achirana" marks the debut of a new trio, formed by ECM bassist of the first hour Arild Andersen and featuring, alongside veteran drummer John Marshall, Greek pianist Vassilis Tsabropoulos in his first recording for ECM. Likely to be hailed as a veritable 'discovery' in jazz circles, Tsabropoulos has long been recognised as an exceptionally gifted performer in other idioms. To quote Vladimir Ashkenazy, "Vassilis Tsabropoulos possesses rare talent". He has a reputation as a classical pianist, an interpreter of 19th and 20th century music, and as a conductor, and there is growing recognition for both his composing and his improvising.
Sagn was the result of a commission for the 1990 Vossajazz festival that sealed the collaborative spirits of singer Kirsten Bråten Berg and bassist Arild Andersen. Blending folk songs from their native Norway, along with jazz and rock elements, the two shared the stage with percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, saxophonist Bendik Hofseth, pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, and guitarist Frode Alnæs. While we don’t have (so far as I’m aware) a live recording of what was surely an historic occasion, we do have this ECM studio rendition, buffed and polished to a mirror’s shine. Sagn is a massive effort, one of ECM’s fullest on a single disc, and stands as Andersen’s most personal statement to date.
Bassist Arild Andersen shines as the principal soloist in a celebration of music from ECM with specially-commissioned new big-band arrangements of well-known pieces by Dave Holland, Chick Corea, Trygve Seim, Jan Garbarek, and Keith Jarrett. The resourceful Tommy Smith adds powerful tenor solos, arranges Garbarek’s “Molde Canticle”, and directs the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Andersen’s composition “Independency” is a 16-minute highlight, in a sensitive and powerful arrangement by Mike Gibbs. Other contributing arrangers are Makoto Ozone, Christian Jacob, Geoff Keezer and Trygve Seim/Øyvind Bræke: all of them contribute sterling work, and their arrangements are likely to enter modern jazz’s big band repertory book. Recorded live at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatory, “Celebration” is a highly attractive album for a broad listenership, and as a statement about music introduced by ECM will be of special interest to long-time followers of the label.
Box set in ECM’s acclaimed Old & New Masters series reintroduces Arild Andersen’s first three leader dates for the label – “Clouds In My Head”, “Shimri”, and “Green Shading Into Blue”. Recorded between 1975 and 1978, none of these albums has previously been issued on compact disc, and this edition is eagerly awaited. The music traces Andersen’s personal evolution from ‘free’-inclined bassist to bandleader-composer and introduces some players who would prove important for the future of the music – amongst them an 18-year-old Jon Balke on the “Clouds” session.
Norwegian bassist Andersen's reputation in Europe over the decades is well established. He has appeared on a number of significant recordings, most notably Jan Garbarek's SAGN, and with his own iconoclastic ensemble Masqualero. IF YOU LOOK FAR ENOUGH distills those past endeavors into a most atmospheric, spacious outing. The more traditional elements of Andersen's heritage meet face-to-face with a profoundly European free-jazz sensibility.