(Trygve Seim, tenor & soprano sax; Øyvind Brække, trombone; Mats Eilertsen, doublebass; Per Oddvar Johansen, drums)
The young Norwegian saxophonist/composer Trygve Seim comes out of the talented group ECM’s Manfred Eicher has been cultivating for many years. His fresh-sounding work blurs the line between improvisation and composition, and the unusual instrumentation of this quartet – no chordal instruments whatever – makes the music more free and open, as well as giving it a unique flavor.
This is the second ECM disc from The Source and I prefer it to the earlier one, The Source and Different Cikadas, which I found a bit too far out for my taste. The quartet worked with a string quartet in that case, as they have with a wild variety of others – and not just musicians but poets, rappers and performance artists. One of the pieces here – Mmball – is a reprise of the feeling of the first album, which demonstrated the group’s interest in Eastern music.
But most of the new effort is more basic and more like a standard jazz album. Un Fingo Andalou, by Seim, is a reference among other things to the Dali/Bunuel early experimental film Un Chien Andalou. Seim sounds something like avant saxist Albert Ayler on this one; he reveals that he has been strongly influenced Jan Garbarek, and Garbarek loved Ayler. The entire second half of the program consists of works by the quartet’s trombonist Brække. Another important jazz figure with links to The Source is the late Finnish drummer and composer Edward Vesala.
I find the front line of sax and trombone in The Source are voiced like the Don Cherry & Ornette Coleman duos of the 60s, but less nervous and more diatonic. It’s filtered thru the Northern European improvised music style rather than the Afro-American free jazz style. A fascinating and highly original sound in jazz.
TrackList: Caballero, Un Fingo Andalou, Libanera, Prelude to a Boy, Tamboura Rasa, Mmball, Østerled, Life So Far, Tribute, Mail Me or Leave Me, Alle Bla De Er, Water Glass Rhapsody, A Surrender Triptych.
– John Henry