Friday, 1 March 2013

Morten Haxholm Quartet: Equilibrium (Storyville)

Two of the greatest talents on the Danish jazz scene are crossing swords with two skilled jazz musicians from New York. It’s bass player Morten Haxholm who is in front of the quartet. He has composed the music.

So far Haxholm hasn’t drawn much attention to himself in the public. The last few years he has been occupied with his studies at the prestigious Advanced Postgraduate Diploma at Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen.

Together with saxophone player Frederick Manzies he has been in New York where he has recorded a very strong debut album with Ari Hoenig on drums and the incomparable guitarist Johathan Kreisberg.

This is jazz which demands something from each musician. Haxholm has not taken the easy way out. He has done a string of compositions which doesn’t please the musicians but force them to deliver their absolute best.

In the cover notes he writes about the number Cruithne, that it changes from 7/4 to 5/4 and he adds that he loves the uneven bars. For the jazz listener who doesn’t count anything when the ears are folded out this is only an interesting by-product. What I notice is how insanely well it’s working. The timing in the quartet works brilliantly. Menzies is a saxophone player who we will hear much more of in the future. He doesn’t have any problems in meeting the guitar playing of Kreisberg.

Morten Haxholm is the main attraction, though. Most of the compositions – like Giacometti and Ezra – are very strong and interesting. The bass playing from Haxholm is authoritative. He is the captain of the ship. It’s an impressive debut album.

He starts out with jazz smelling of New York – not only in style but in talent and charisma as well.

Review: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe.

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