Thursday, November 24, 2011

Listening Booth, week 47: shorts: Magic Pocket

I don't write much about Norwegian jazz here. That's partly a conscious choice -- Norwegian jazz releases are well covered in mainstream media (I feel dirty using those words with Fox "News" in mind) media, which I was always trying to provide an alternative to -- but considering the bulk of those who visit these pages live abroad and may be curious about jazz from these shores, I'm making an exception today. Also, it's a damn fine record.

  • Magic Pocket: The Katabatic Wind (Bolage) - Magic Pocket is a young-ish brass and drums quartet (all born between 1975 and '82) consisting of Erik Johanessen on trombone, Hayden Powell on trumpets, Daniel Herskedal on tuba, and Erik Nylander on drums, tabla machhines and drum machine. For this release, they're augmented by the electronics and piano of Morten Qvenild. The music here is atmospheric, drawn out melodic lines and sheets of sound underpinned by understated grooves. The tuba moves in and out of it's rhythmic "bass" role, the brass blends with the electronics, trickles of piano here and there without ever getting ambient territory. The bolero-esque "The Thar Desert" is particularly enchanting, while the bouncy "Darts" showcase their more playful side. Lovely stuff. 8*

  • * Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes rather than final reviews.

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