Jul 29 2014
Saxophonist Martin Küchen keeps adding members to his Angles ensemble, and the music keeps getting better. For those keeping score at home, the new release Injuries has the count at Angles 9, and, unsurprisingly, the music keeps getting more buoyant, more textured, and more fun. The comparison often made is Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and that’s not an unfair parallel to draw, but where Haden’s outfit planted its roots in protest music, Kuchen’s outbursts are more celebratory in nature.
This is music that explodes with life and barely holds together at the seams. “European Boogie” opens the album, with a Stahl intro on vibes that sees the ensemble launching into a catchy groove with a heavy foot and a light bounce. “Ubabba” charts a similar course, except that where the ensemble still rides a catchy groove, it’s their partnership in harmony that carries the day.
This is music that tells a story, but with many voices at once and rarely in unison. “Eti” and title-track “Injuries” both posses that euphoric excitement and energy of a roomful of people all celebrating the same thing in different conversational tones and tenors, sometimes at a murmur, sometimes with a roar. In particular, the 22-minute epic “A Desert on Fire, A Forest / I’ve Been Lied To” runs through a series of chapters, each with their own plot twist.
But no matter what the story is or how it’s told, this music is supremely fun and wildly expressive, and the kind of joyful listening experience often hoped for, but not often received. An outstanding album, and one of 2014’s best so far.
Your album personnel: Martin Küchen (alto sax), Magnus Broo (trumpet), Eirik Hegdal (baritone & sopranino saxes), Mats Äleklint (trombone), Johan Berthling (double bass), Alexander Zethson (piano), Mattias Ståhl (vibraphone), Andreas Werliin (drums, percussion), and Goran Kajfeš (trumpet).
Angles 9 is comprised of a strong cast of musicians who’ve received plenty of other attention on this site and via my eMusic/Wondering Sound Jazz Picks columns. Personally, I’d start with Goran Kajfes, who hasn’t yet put out a recording that didn’t float my boat. Some serious fun there.
Released on Clean Feed Records.
Jazz from Sweden.
Or purchase directly from Clean Feed Records. I believe I’ve seen several posts on the AllAboutJazz forum indicating they’d had successful retail experiences with the Clean Feed site.
Some of this review was used originally in the weekly new jazz releases column I write for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to the reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…
“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2014 eMusic.com, Inc.
As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.