Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chris Dundas, Oslo Odyssey

Pianist Chris Dundas puts together a quartet effort that models itself quite successfully on the classic phase of ECM jazz coming out of Europe in earlier days. Oslo Odyssey (BLM 1100/01) gives us two-CDs of music with a nicely balanced group of forces. Dundas wrote seven of the numbers, which are featured on the first disk. The second disk contains collaborative quartet-generated spontaneity, aka group improvisations.

The quartet is a good one. Dundas mans the piano with a generative in-the-moment presence that does not copycat as much as it revises and recreates anew, the legendary Arild Andersen is on contrabass, sounding great, Bendik Hofseth plays tenor, launching from Garbarek but going beyond to his own space, and Patrice Heral plays creatively and loosely on drums.

I especially like the second disk for its free-tonal qualities. But the whole set gives us a kind of revisitation of classic ECM jazz from the vantage point of today, which means it is no clone. It involves extension.

For anyone who loves the middle-period of ECM music, this will send you. There is non-formulaic playing and writing, a fresh take on it all. Recommended!

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