CD review: Albatrosh

Yonkers
(Rune Grammofon RCD2117)

This one came out in early December, but Christmas kind of got in the way. In some ways it’s much more of a mid-January album anyway (we will ignore the fact that it was recorded last April): slightly wayward, slightly at odds with itself, though with a lot of wry humour and a lot of warmth amid the melancholy.

Albatrosh is a duo of 26-year-old Norwegians Eyolf Dale and Andre Roligheten, the former a pianist, the latter a saxophonist. Yonkers is a late night session recorded at a studio in this, the fourth largest city in New York state (so Wikipedia told me briefly before the black cover of protest came down over the page).

Albatrosh

You might guess from the intimate, reflective, mood of the session that it was a late night one, but it’s also when some of the most interesting of dark thoughts emerge.

Not that there isn’t light and frivolity at times. Roligheten can vary his tone from almost classically detached to really earthy and old-timey in a kind of David Murray way, though with more of a rattle to the tone; Dale is a romantically inclined arpeggio man but with a good ear for a crunched harmony.

Track three, Major Little, is a good place to start, showing how neatly the pair have melded European and American jazz influences into a fresh material. Coral Fox is possibly the loveliest – a really dreamy ebb and flow of timbral richness, with melodic hints of an American songbook classic that I am still trying to identify.

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  1. More reviews and international airplay! | www.albatrosh.com

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