Nominally jazz but Norwegian saxophonist Neset proves he is a composer, period, as he and the London Sinfonietta baffle anyone who tries to pigeon-hole music. The piece opens with bustling orchestral strings and percussion before a jazz sound emerges with urgently plucked double bass (?) and some easy listening sax before it all goes a bit Stravinsky. And we’re only two minutes in.
Orchestral strings follow, swelling nicely, before the bustle returns. After that, the programme takes in soaring hard bop, this mix a precursor of what’s to come. It’s all one piece over 10 tracks in two sections — labelled 1a-f and 2a-d, as if names don’t matter — but part two is slower, though no less ambitious, combing a romantic big band sound with classical music, and a nice marimba solo over lounge music early on.
Like nothing else you will hear, and an immersive experience. It’s more classical than jazz.
His band is Ivo Neame on piano, Jim Hart on vibraphone, marimba and percussion, Petter Eldh on double bass and Anton Eger on the / drums, with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Geoffrey Paterson.
It’s out on ACT 9048-2.
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