Monday, December 26, 2011

Listening Booth, week 52, 2011

  • Mats Eilertsen: Skydive (Hubro) - Bassist and composer Mats Eilertsen (b. 1975) was born in Trondheim, Norway, and got his education at that city's renowned Jazz Academy. He's been an in-demand session musician since the 90s-- among others for Jacob Young, Solveig Slettahjell as well as playing on a trio of Sonny Simmons releases -- 'though he has in recent years also been releasing several albums of his own compositions, the last of which is Skydive on the tiny Hubro label. As a bassist here, he doesn't assert himself much, eschewing vamps, riffs, and walks/runs, and instead keeps a rather low profile, staying in the background, grounding and accentuating Olavi Louhivuori's drum beat as well as the occasional cymbal hit with full and rich sounding drawn out notes, making the tunes seemingly glide along. There's little in terms of heads or themes here, instead there are narrative-like melodies, which saxophonist Tore Brunborg, guitarist Thomas T. Dahl and pianist Alexei Tuomarila take turns in moving along. It's all very sweeping and wooshing, contemplative and "calming" if not very exciting music. But the records is wonderfully produced and it sounds great, as most Hubro releases do. 6*

    * 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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