Marius Neset: Circle of Chimes

review neset x1 cong

This is muscular and modern jazz that skirts round the edges of jazz, prog, improv and classical, with added tubular bells. There’s some fearsome sax playing, too.

Writing on his website, Neset says tubular bells were the idea for the album, and it opens with them sounding like distant church bells. It’s not so much the bells as the circle they form: Neset was playing the same note in octaves, and moved the notes, ending up with a circle of two notes that would meet again. This pattern influenced the songs.

Opener Satellite is 10 minutes long and goes from the bells to Pat Methany-style wildness before developing a more reflective, almost Chinese sound.

Star is similar, 10 minutes long and opening with tubular bells, though with a livelier start with some rapid flute playing as it heads off into improv meets world / prog / jazz. Impressive.

A New Resolution is more consistently jazz, with a fine piano solo, while Introduction to Prague is more mellow, with Eastern European-flavoured cello at the start, giving way to gentle and lyrical sax.

Sirens of Cologne opens rapidly with scat and a funky sound before becoming a mix of world and jazz.

The musicians are all top class: pianist Ivo Neame, percussionist Jim Hart, drummer Anton Eger and double bassist Petter Eldh, as well as guitarist Lionel Loueke, his sister, flautist Ingrid Neset, and cellist Andreas Brantelid.

Out on ACT 9038-2.

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