Recommended: Jorn Swart – “Malnoia”


It’s odd how ephemeral the personality of Malnoia is, and yet how very distinct.  In a vague sense, this is a chamber jazz recording… except when it’s not quite.  Other times the impression given is that of a folk-jazz work, but that impression fades before it fully takes hold.  Then there are those moments it is situated firmly in modern jazz or post-jazz territory, before it moves briskly along to the next facet of that very ephemeral, very distinct personality.  The sophomore recording by pianist Jorn Swart is a treasure of very strong imagery that only lingers for a moment.  Something about that transient quality keeps the music a source of constant intrigue, and almost eclipses the album’s cascading beauty.

The album is best mapped by its tones.  The classy elegance of “Elefante Triste” borders on becoming detached and radiating a distant warmth, and it’s striking how that eventually leads to the somber mood on “Feldmania.”  This curved path is also how to traverse the cheery hop and twist of “Walsje” and “Hindemith” through the ominous passages of “Odd Christmas Song” before ending with the contemplative nature of “The Return Of The Snow Bunnies (In Slow Motion)” and “Nocturne.”  But no matter how familiar the map and its routes may become, it’s not certain that this music will ever become so familiar as to not sound strange.  Or, for that matter, ever see its intrigue come to an end.

Your album personnel:  Jorn Swart (piano), Benni von Gutzeit (viola) and Lucas Pino (bass clarinet).

Released on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records.

Music from Brooklyn.

Available at:  Amazon