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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Slow Eastbound Train




The Mistral Noir


Monsoon Coming

The Solar Winds’ Effects on Earth

Daniel’s Dust Devil

Slow Eastbound Boat

Slow Eastbound Train


Crosswind Landing


Sea Breeze Front

Daniel Herskedal (tuba, bass trumpet, composer): Eyolf Dale (piano): Helge Andreas Norbakken (percussion): Trondheim Soloists

Recorded March 2014, Bark Studio, Oslo and Nidaros Studio, Trondheim [45:30]

This is a memorable disc. Norwegian tuba player Daniel Herskedal has composed an album of originals save for Mussorgsky’s Bydlo from his Pictures at an Exhibition. Fusing nature painting with travelogue – I’m working from a promo advance copy so have a bare minimum of details and no notes – Herskedal manages to vest all the eleven tracks with a sure sense of colour and rhythmic energy; no small feat when he’s working with just piano, percussion and the string ensemble, the Trondheim Soloists.

The Mistral Noir is an auburn-coloured, lightly rhythmically rocking opener, cleaving quite close to the classical-filmic ethos containing powerful element of ‘vista’ in its four-minute length. The pitter-pat of the Trondheim strings announce Rainfall, where Eyolf Dale’s stylish piano musings are impossible to ignore. More Eastern sounds infuse Monsoon Coming, a track which shows both sonic imagination and the power of employing strong dynamic gradients. The evocative circling patterns of the The Solar Winds’ Effect on Earth segue into the compact two-minute Daniel’s Dust Devil where Mardi Gras, Big Easy stylings seem to evoke the Dirty Dozens before ruminatively dying away. That versatile percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken always suggests apposite patterns, and his contribution to the success of this album is considerable.

Slow Eastbound Boat evokes an India-bound scenic voyage whilst its near namesake the Slow Eastbound Train offers fresh lyricism and warm melodies, all provided by the rich and expressive Herskedal tone. Snowfall offers more light-hearted pleasures with probing piano writing and an angular melodic line. Bydlo works well here, suiting the music’s rhythmic pattern and strong sense of characterisation. To end we have Sea Breeze Front in which I detect the dual influence of Gil Evans on the string writing and ethos, and trombonist Jimmy Knepper’s tone and lyricism on Herskedal. The wash and weave here is textually beautiful, and makes for a splendid close.

Travelogue or tone poem? Nature painting? Why not all three, served up by an outstanding trio led by an inventive, technically unimpeachable and truly imaginative tuba soloist. It’s not every day that one hears one of those, but this disc shows Herskedal can do it and is at the top of his powers.

Jonathan Woolf

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