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Circle Of Chimes

ACT 9038-2




  1. Satellite

  2. Star

  3. A New Resolution

  4. Introduction To Prague's Ballet

  5. Prague's Ballet

  6. Life Goes On

  7. Sirens Of Cologne

  8. The Silent Room

  9. 1994

  10. Eclipse

    Marius Neset - Tenor sax, soprano sax

    Lionel Loueke - Guitar, vocals

    Andreas Brantelid - Cello

    Ingrid Neset - Flute, piccolo, alto flute

    Ivo Neame - Piano

    Jim Hart - Vibraphone, marimba, percussion

    Peter Eldh - Double bass

    Anton Eger - Drums, percussion

    Norwegian-born, but Copenhagen-based, saxophonist Marius Neset is still only 32 years of age. Despite his relative youth, he has shown over the past few years what an exceptional talent he is, both as a composer and an instrumentalist. His recordings for ACT, from 2014 onwards, have shown his capacity to function successfully in different contexts. In this latest recording, Circle Of Chimes, he has added to his familiar team of Ivo Neame, Peter Eldh and Anton Eger, several other outstanding musicians. Benin-born Lionel Loueke provides guitar and vocals and is a stellar performer from both the world music and jazz scene (I had the pleasure of hearing him live with Herbie Hancock several years back). Jim Hart, who plays vibes and percussion, played on Neset's 2015 album, Pinball, as indeed did Neset's younger sister, Ingrid (flute) and classical cellist Andreas Brantelid. There is, then, a musical alchemy apparent on this new album. Neset himself stands in the tradition of the late Michael Brecker and of Chris Potter and (inevitably) Jan Garbarek. He claims that this recording is his most personal so far and, as the composer, draws attention to its 'darkest, most melancholic' status (though it is not without brighter moments).

    There's a particular refrain which surfaces at the beginning and towards the end of the CD, giving continuity to what has passed. The chimes of tubular bells, first and last, sound for all the world like the bells of a distant church, signifying some ethereal realm. The opening track, Satellite, begins that way initially, then bass, guitar and piano pick out the melody. The cello of Andreas Brantelid takes up the theme in a beautiful interlude before there is a sudden but brief explosion of sound, marking a change of gear. The impassioned tenor playing of Neset follows, Eldh's bass also prominent, before we hear the cello again and a stirring finale from Neset. The chimes motif leads into the second track, Star. Although a tad chaotic at times, this bustling piece is similarly impressive. Neset plays soprano sax here and Loueke's vocal contribution is well worth hearing. A New Resolution invites us to admire Neset's fluent and bop-influenced tenor and, among other delights, the accomplished piano playing of Ivo Neame. Introduction To Prague's Ballet is just that, a brief lead-in to the following track but noteworthy for more good work from pianist and cellist. Prague's Ballet is chamber jazz of a high order, characterised by beauty and charm. The wistful soprano sax conjures up a scene of elegance and poise, appropriate in the context of ballet. Life Goes On is jaunty and appealing with fine performances all round.

    For the rest, I liked the finesse and tenderness of Loueke on guitar and the accessible playing of Neset on tenor, on the low-key The Silent Room. 1994, meanwhile, is a surging piece with intriguing interludes, resembling a candidate for a film score. There are moments such as the opening toSirens Of Cologne or, for that matter, the start of Eclipse which will be enjoyed by those with more raucous tastes than mine but, it's fair to say that there is something for everyone in either track. The album manages to be continually interesting. Such diverse compositions from the same hand confirm Neset's versatility. The disc as a whole reminds us of what an adventurous musician he is. The primarily youthful international line-up ( Loueke is the veteran at 44) who accompany him are characterised by an infectious zest for the music they are playing. There is clearly much more to come from this rising star of European jazz!

    James Poore


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