On Neck of the Woods, Neset and Herskedal demonstrate how their original compositions explore influences from classical and folk music, but always with an underlying jazz sensibility – from the soaring and uplifting classical grandeur of ‘Neck of the Woods’ to the simple and sublimely beautiful arrangement of Abdullah Ibrahim’s ‘The Wedding’, Neck of the Woods is an album of extraordinary creativity and energising charm.
"Avoid the basic concept of the jazz piano trio and make it more groovy, with simple melodies” Iiro Rantala. After the album “My Working Class Hero,” dedicated to John Lennon and “Tears for Esbjörn,” a homage to the influential Swedish pianist, “How Long Is Now?” puts the spotlight fairly and squarely back on to the Finnish pianist, composer and life-force Iiro Rantala. This new trio album with Peter Erskine (drums) and Lars Danielsson (bass) constitutes a many-faceted summing-up of a happy and resoundingly creative phase of Rantala’s life. Rantala says of the new album: “I think this is one of those ‘composition is the king’ kind of projects. The theme, the writing, the mood of the composition are the most important things.” Seven of the thirteen compositions here are by Rantala himself, three tracks by the other players in the trio, and three more are by others who, in their different ways, have helped to construct Rantala’s appealing musical personality.
Lars Danielsson ACT-debut “Libera me“ (ACTSACD 9800-2) left no doubts about his creative versatility. And yet: the bass player, cellist and composer continues to surprise. His latest ACT-release “Mélange Bleu” (ACT 9604-2) shows up a completely new dimension to this musician with enormous potential. Danielsson has surrounded himself with partners like pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer und guitarist Eivind Aarset, all of them specialists for mood music that often develops in before a backdrop of ambient inspired sounds, samples and programmed beats.
Marius Neset is one of the great new tenor sax players of our age, in the tradition of Michael Brecker and Jan Garbarek” (Jazzwise). After his excursion into the bigger band format on his ACT debut “Lion” with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Neset now returns to the compact quintet (with guests) for “Pinball“. Neset and his companions present a shimmering kaleidoscope of forms of expression and influences and delight with compositional and instrumental complexity. At the same time, Neset sounds more mature, soulful and melodic than ever before.