Best of 2016 #24: Joakim Berghall – “Dialogues II” (Eclipse Music)


This series of duo collaborations is seriously absorbing.  Saxophonist Joakim Berghäll has embarked on a four-part series of duets with his Finnish counterparts.  The first installment centered on the pianists.  The second, and current, project recording, Dialogues II, has him matched up with guitarists.  As one might imagine, duets with ten different musicians is going to result in ten different conversations.  What isn’t so likely to see coming is how fascinating each and every one of them are, and, inexplicably, that they all come together with something resembling album cohesion.  The range of expressions are all over the map, from a jazz-rock edge to serene minimalism to avant-garde clashes of dissonance to Frisellian looping effects and over to a Finnish folk music influence.  To enhance the range of possible expressions, Berghäll brings his alto, soprano, tenor & baritone saxophones and a bass clarinet, to boot.  The imagery is strong and the diversity of sound expansive, but the nature of the duet invokes a sense of intimacy, and it’s why all of these dialogues present themselves with a certain disarming warmth… no matter how lovely and strange the music may get.

Jazz from (all over) Finland.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).