Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Fire! Orchestra: Exit! (Rune Grammofon) >> Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson: Stones (Rune Grammofon)

Suggestive. Seductive. Transcendent. Big words for a big orchestra. Once it was called a big band. Today it’s Orchestra-something, which indicates that you aren’t a Count Basie swing big band.

Swedish saxophone player, Mats Gustafsson, works with bass player, Johan Berthling, and drummer, Andreas Werliin in the trio Fire!
On the current album it is expanded with 28 musicians! Four bass players (among them Dan Berglund), four drummers, six saxophone players (among them Fredrik Ljungkvist and Jonas Kullhammar) etc.

In other words: there is a possibility for a massive wall of sound and it is build! There’s no resemblance with a traditional big band.

If you, like I do, have a weakness for a grand punch of sound, then Fire! Orchestra is the right thing.

You find parallels to free jazz big bands like Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra and Carla Bley’s. But an orchestra like Kresten Osgood’s Indianerne draws on some of the same ideas.

When Mats Gustafsson is involved in a project – as we know it from The Thing – it often becomes very heavy and muscular.  

Luckily, we also get many fine details, where singers Mariam Wallentin and Järnberg must be mentioned.

Exit! is the unavoidable grand-orchestra-album!

Mats Gustafsson has a duo album with his instrument colleague, Colin Stetson, out as well.

Stetson has been playing in the alternative part of the rock scene and has been a permanent member of Arcade Fire’s tour band. He has also made a solo album.

Gustafsson’s work with sax-only albums is extensive. He’s done solo albums and some for trio (with Vandermark and Brötzmann).

Here, inspiration comes from poems of Swedish writer Gunnar Ekelöf. Stetson plays alto and bass sax, while Gustafsson handles the tenor and the baritone.

Stones is a quit gloomy album. There are captivating moments, but at the same time their music really hurts; in most pleasurable way. 

Review: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe.

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