Rønnings Jazzmaskin – Jazzmaskin!

jazzmaskin!(Losen Records)

This Scandinavian quartet led by Trondheim drummer Truls Rønning opens with a tune that in a way sums up what they are about. It’s called Monk vs Messiaen and, in their words, it “is an example of how to incorporate musical language of the great composer… into jazz”.

With Rønning are Martin Myhre Olsen on alto and soprano saxophones, Petter Kraft on tenor and Egil Kalman on double bass. The absence of a chordal instrument gives the expected space to the music and the players use their freedom to good effect.

Banan Tunnan has a bass riff and a drum groove that make it feel strongly 21st century while the saxophones bump and bop over it sometimes coming across like comic circus band players, sometimes like Ornetteish avant gardists.

Vader feels like a contemporary take on Chet and Gerry West Coast ’50s cool, with the saxophones luxuriating in their harmonies and the extended swells of some of the notes. Flyaway Gary is a heads down romp with strong solos from the two saxophonists; Solutions is an exploration of timbres which leads into a tenor figure overlaid by alto and underlaid by a funk-tinged groove. It reminds me a little of what Polar Bear’s Pete Wareham might come up with.

A thoroughly entertaining and jolly likeable debut album.

Categories: CD review

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