Karin Hammr, Chris Jennings, Ingrid Jensen, Patrick Goraguer: Land (2012)
"Episode 1 To 5" evolves from a one-note bass groove and softly pattering percussion. The somewhat exotic airas all the voices rise togetheris reminiscent of a slow blues by Lebanese oudist/composer Rabih Abou-Khalil. Trombone, bass, and muted trumpet all take short, languid bows, with the respective brass lines mirror images of one another. Hammar and Jensen flirt playfully, skipping between rich unison and independent, yet interwoven lines. Crying, electrified trumpet and growling trombone alter the tune's course briefly but dramatically, before the two join in quiet unison, effecting peaceful resolution.
Dirge-like trumpet/trombone surfaces from time to time on "Fugitive"paradoxically, a rather up-beat tune. Jenningswhether playing infectious riffs or soloing under the lead voicesis a powerful presence, and forms a propulsive rhythm section with Goraguer. Solos are short but burn brightly before returning to the ports of unison lines and the collective voice. On "On My Line," bass ostinato and an insistent rim shot beat create a truly danceable groove. Jensen's effects-charged, spiraling soloas drums surgeseems to provide the missing link between trumpeters Miles Davis and Cuong Vu. This atmospheric number would surely rock a live audience.
Warmth of tone characterizes both Hammar and Jensen's playing, wonderfully illustrated on the hymnal intro to "Koral." Jennings again lays down a simple yet absolutely killer bass line, as the brass voices dovetail with a sense of happy abandon. If "Koral" boasts neo-classical grace, then the cool rhythmic vibes, disciplined unison lines and hot improvisations of "Clueless" have an almost celebratory African air. Further contrast is found in the urgent rhythms and charging lines of "Following the Land." Bop-like quartet intensity gradually dissipates, the notes falling, as though exhausted, into a drawn-out, melodic conclusion.
"As Good As New" is a stately baroque blues, a feature for Jensen and Hammar, whose emotive solos embody finesse and economy. Though melancholy in essence, there's also great warmth when their voices unite in the end. "75013" is a sexy, slow-burning gem; Jennings really stretches out, though sacrificing none of the tremendous groove that inhabits his opening ostinato. The bop-flavoredthough groove-based"Fofoquera" sounds like a classic first set closer, and sets the seal on an altogether absorbing recording.
Strong, melodic compositions and a pronounced group ethoswhere improvisation never trumps groovecreate a fine balance, one which sets the bells and whistle of the gut, heart and head, singing-and-a ringing.
Track Listing: Episode 1 To 5; Fugitive; On My Line; Koral; Clueless; Following the Land; As Good as New; 75013; Fofoquera.
Personnel: Karin Hammar: trombone; Chris Jennings: double bass; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet, effects; Patrick Goraguer: drums, percussion.
Record Label: Skip Records