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Mats Eilertsen - Rubicon (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Mats Eilertsen - Rubicon (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Mats Eilertsen
Title: Rubicon
Genre: Jazz, Modern Jazz, Modern Creative, Continental Jazz
Label: © ECM Records GmbH | ECM Player
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:54:26
Recorded: Rainbow Studio, Oslo in May 2015

Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen has been a strong and supportive presence on a dozen ECM sessions to date. With Rubicon he steps forward to present his own music, with an international cast. The album features compositions originally written in response to a commission from the Vossajazz Festival. All About Jazz reviewed the premiere performance: “Rubicon proved to be a very dynamic work. Eilertsen ensured that each of the instrumentalists took their share of the spotlight, brought together combinations of players that emphasized tonal variation, and created ensemble sections bursting with life.” After fine-tuning the material on tour, Mats brought his septet to Oslo’s Rainbow Studio, where Manfred Eicher produced this definitive version of Rubicon in May 2015.

On his leader debut for ECM, bassist/composer Mats Eilertsen surrounds himself with players he has worked with in various contexts over the last 15 years. He has appeared on the label many times under the leadership of Tord Gustavsen, Jacob Young, Nils Økland, and Mathias Eick. This septet date is the largest ensemble he's ever assembled on record -- though they seldom play together. Among his collaborators are saxophonist/clarinetist Eirik Hegdal and guitarist Thomas Dahl, both of whom he's worked with since the '90s in Dingobats; ex-pat American Rob Waring on vibraphones and marimbas, drummer Olavi Louhivuori, pianist Harmen Fraanje, and saxophonist Trygve Seim. Rubicon began its life as a commission from the Vossajazz Festival in 2014. The music changed shape and was tightened on the road until producer Manfred Eicher and engineer Jan Eric Kongshaug captured it in Oslo's Rainbow Studio in May 2016.
Those familiar with Eilertsen's work with his Turanga or SkyDive bands will know that he doesn't compose to showcase his own playing. He writes for ensembles, or, in this case, subgroups of them. Opener "Canto" is an intimate, gentle dialogue for saxophone (Seim) and Hegdal's clarinet. Cymbal washes and sparse, crystalline, middle-register piano join the bassline. A Spanish tinge lies in its speculative melody. "March" is almost dirge-like in tempo, but it's colorful; it also contains traces of folk melody before moving off into an almost rockist groove via the guitarist's tremolo bar, Fraanje's Rhodes and acoustic piano, and Waring's sparkling vibes before an outside tenor solo. Though "Balky" commences with a bass solo, piano, brushed drums, tenor saxophone, guitar, and marimba eventually add layers, delivering the most songlike melody on the set. The interplay between Seim's solo and Dahl's illustrative electric guitar fills is gorgeous. "Blublue," with its staggered lyric line, is more harmonically open, with elegant use of vibes and Bill Frisell-esque guitar vamps while saxophones and vibes gently circle outward until the piano and an alto horn circle back. "September" is a vehicle for Dahl. His guitar is at the forefront with drums and vibes, as the horns add staggered fills in the backdrop. It's the closest thing to conventional "jazz" here, with a nearly euphoric sense of rhythmic syncopation. Rubicon delivers a series of fine compositions that explore various combinations of intimate, exploratory sounds along (mostly) subtle color lines and elegantly arrayed textural palettes. They evoke an inherent lyricism that, for all its restraint, is tonally expansive and harmonically smart. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek



Tracklist:
1. Canto 05:36
2. Cross the Creek 02:22
3. March 08:07
4. Balky 06:47
5. Lago 07:00
6. Blublue 07:27
7. Wood and Water 02:06
8. September 08:01
9. Reminiscent 04:39
10. Introitus 02:21


Personnel:
Trygve Seim: tenor and soprano saxophones
Eirik Hegdal: soprano, baritone sax, clarinet and bass clarinet
Thomas Dahl: guitar
Rob Waring: marimba and vibraphone
Harmen Fraanje: piano, Fender Rhodes
Mats Eilertsen: double bass
Olavi Louhivuori: drums

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