Nov 15 2015
I’m rather taken with the sophomore release of saxophonist Torbjørn Sletta Jacobsen. Biting Tails is one of those recordings that hangs its hat on the shapeliness of its lyricism, and instills in its melodies an impressive malleability that allows them to conform to whatever shape best suits the prevailing tempo without doing anything to weaken their genuine beauty.
Spreading this approach out in its barest form, “Projektor” just lays the pretty melody on thick and dares the listener’s ear not to grow unconditionally infatuated with it. There’s an appealing pop music quality to this tune, even while it sticks to Nordic Jazz territory. Along those same lines, the fun title-track “Biting Tails” moves like a jitterbug and shapes the melody with that particular motion in mind. The action on “On” is a bit more conventional and streamlined to let the catchy melody shine its brightest. “UFO” adopts the same approach, but slides the tempo into cruise control.
At the quieter end of the spectrum, “Prabol” is a song that uses heartbreak as currency, and is very generous when dishing it out. “Claudine” doesn’t stray too far from its predecessor, but aims its heartbreak inward as it cloaks itself in contemplation and introspection. Overall, the album presents a nice mix of quirkiness to balance out the thick waves of serenity. Plus, there’s a wildcard track like “Conion,” which adopts a determined step, and a driving tempo that adds a sense of urgency to the long exhalations of melody. It’s a track that doesn’t fall neatly into either primary sound category, and it goes a long way to binding the two up.
Just a real enjoyable album where every tune has a melody that presents itself as a warm, friendly smile.
Your album personnel: Torbjørn Sletta Jacobsen (alto sax, bass clarinet), Gunnar Halle (trumpet), Espen Eriksen (piano), Audun Ellingsen (bass) and Freddy Augdal Wike (drums).
Released on Curling Legs.
Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Soundcloud page.
Jazz from the Oslo, Norway scene.