Tiny Reviews: Jonathan Orland, Jussi Fredriksson, & Peter Knudsen 8

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Jonathan Orland Homes, Jussi Fredriksson Jazz Wars I & II, and Peter Knudsen 8 Sagas of the Present.



Jonathan Orland – Homes

Jonathan Orland - "Homes"Here’s one for the straight-ahead jazz fans who like their music to embrace the music of an era past.  On his debut album Homes, saxophonist Jonathan Orland leads a sextet through a series of originals (plus, renditions of Dave Brubeck and Ray Noble compositions) that will delight jazz fans who don’t care for any of the modern funny-business.  Most of the album tracks keep their foot on the gas pedal, though never break the speed limit.  Up-tempo, plenty of bounce and swing, emitting the kind of heat comparable to a toasty fireside seat.  There are two tracks that bring the ballad, and it’s the first of those two, “Chassidot,” that may be the strongest tune on the recording.

George Garzone sits in for three of the album’s eight tracks, and it’s the interaction between his tenor and Orland’s alto on “The Pope and I” that breathes a little welcome fire into the session.

Your album personnel:  Jonathan Orland (alto & soprano sax), Sharik Hasan (piano), Greg Duncan (guitar), Lim Yang (double bass), Jun Young Song (drums), and guest:  George Garzone (tenor sax).

Released on the Bee Jazz label.

Jazz from the Paris scene.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: MP3


Jussi Fredriksson – Jazz Wars I & II

Jussi Fredriksson - "Jazz Wars I & II"This nifty release has remained on my periphery for many months now.  Jussi Fredricksson‘s two-part Jazz Wars recording is definitely out of the Brian Blade school of nu-jazz.  A mix of modern conventions that adopt post-rock meandering, mainstream jazz brightness, some bop swing, and lots of jazz that focuses more on story telling than story structure.

At the heart of this recording is music of a serene nature.  But what has kept me coming back to this album is that it often presents itself with a heat level that contradicts the serenity it radiates from inside.  For instance, the scorcher “Battle” is nothing that’s ever going to get mistaken for a peaceful ECM label recording, yet it is clearly informed by the same calming presence of album opener “Home.”

Just one of those albums that aspires to do achieve something great, and at times, comes very close to reaching it.  Under-the-radar recording, and one deserving of attention.

Your album personnel:  Jussi Fredriksson (piano, Rhodes, minimoog), Joonatan Rautio (sax), Jukka Eskola (trumpet), Marzi Nyman (guitar), Jori Huhtala (bass), and Jukkis Uotila (drums).

No audio to embed, but Fredriksson streams four album tracks on his site.

Jazz from the Helsinki, Finland scene.

Originally the album was Self-Produced, though it appears it may now be offered on a label called Helsinki Jazz Underground, which may or may not be a Fredriksson project.  It also would explain why the album is no longer available at eMusic, since label switches are one of the biggest reasons for an album to drop of their site.

EDIT:  Available again at eMusic.

Available at Amazon: MP3


Peter Knudsen 8 – Sagas of the Present

Peter Knudsen 8 - "Sagas of the Present"Lively set by pianist Peter Knudsen.  On Sagas of the Present, his compositions allow sufficient room for the voices of many instruments the room to really step up and speak out, while tying them all in together into a seamless whole, thus maintaining an equanimity that prevents the album from becoming just another series of solos and accompaniments.  The album has a refreshing, even flow… a strong current of music that borders, at times, on the thrilling.

That said, it’s when the ensemble slows things down, like on tracks “Aurora Borealis” and “Saga Of The Gingerbread Castle” when they really shine.  Some moments of captivating beauty.

Your album personnel:  Peter Knudsen (piano), Emil Strandberg (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andreas Gidlund (sax, clarinet, flute), Gustav Rådström (sax, clarinet), Thomas Backman (sax, bass clarinet, flute), Lisa Bodelius (trombone), Pär-Ola Landin (bass), Sebastian Voegler (drums), and guest:  Anders Johansson (glockenspiel).

Released on the CamJazz label.

You can stream much of the album on the album page on the CamJazz label site.

Jazz from the Stockholm, Sweden scene.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3