Friday, January 30, 2015

Friends & Neighbors, Hymn for a Hungry Nation

What is new under the sun? Plenty if you look for it. Take for example the Norwegian outfit Friends & Neighbors. They have an album out on Clean Feed (310) called Hymn for a Hungry Nation and it's good. They are a quintet of Andre Roligheten, tenor and clarinets, Thomas Johansson, trumpet, Oscar Gronberg, piano, Jon Rune Strom, double bass, and Tollef Ostvang, drums. They do new "new thing" and give us their personal, original best.

Each one of these folks is a player, make no mistake. And they get a group sound with some worthwhile originals that, no surprise given the name of the band, owe something to classic Ornette but also to some of the other outfits from the early days too, like the NY Contemporary Five.

It would not be quite enough if that's all they did. But they do add their own freshness and so it becomes "in the zone" without just rehashing the zone.

Each player has something to say, the rhythm team locks into free grooves in classic fashion, yet it all has a quality there that is recognizably original. You may not know these players yet. But that will change after you hear this one.

Friends & Neighbors have arrived! Any "free jazz" fan will no doubt be very happy with their album. I surely am myself.

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