Friday, August 9, 2013

Ketil Bjornstad, La notte

Ketil Bjornstad, pianist, composer, leader of a sextet live at the Molde Jazz Festival in 2010, which is out as a CD entitled La notte (ECM 2300 3724553).

Ketil proffers what we have come to identify as "ECM Jazz," which means that it has a spaciousness, a lyricism, a composed element, an ambiance that essentially was stolen and bastardized eventually as New Age. To get back into ECM Jazz means in part to forget what New Age has made of it and appreciate the real thing, so to speak. Now not all New Age is terrible, but much of it doesn't stand up very well over time. ECM Jazz does.

So with that in mind we have some quite beautiful music from a sextet that includes Arild Andersen sounding great as always on contrabass, the brilliant Marilyn Mazur on percussion-drums, Andy Sheppard sounding a bit more Garbarekian than usual on tenor and soprano, plus Eivend Aarset in a post-Rypdalian mode on electric guitar, Anja Lechner on cello (sounding beautifully resonant) and of course Maestro Bjornstad on piano.

This is a sonically alive instrumentation that Ketil takes good advantage of in his compositions-arrangements and of course there is some world-class improvisation to be had from the band, including Bjornstad.

There is a lot of music to digest and it doesn't just follow in classic ECM footsteps but builds upon it. If you dig the Weber/Garbarek kind of ECM lyric sounds from the classic era this will remind you of it but it goes somewhere with it as well. Stunning and worth it for Arild Andersen alone. But of course there is much more! Listen and soar along if you will.

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