Mikkel Nordsø Quintet: Out There

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Danish guitarist and composer Mikkel Nordsø has always cited John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix as two of his major influences, Nordsø believes that this album is a true representation of what would’ve been produced if these two supremos had met.

Appearing in over 200 albums, Nordsø started flamenco guitar at the age of 11 before joining Danish trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg’s V8 project and Buki-Yamaz at 15.

Take Off, appropriately named, starts with solo acoustic guitar and an echo of Rhodes before breaking out into a fully distinguished slice of jazz fusion. Out There is a perfect example of the intention of this project. From the beginning we hear Nordsø channelling his inner Hendrix. As the piece progresses, Franck enters on saxophone with a raucous display. Although Franck and Besiakov have notable solos in this track, the overriding sound of Nordsø plays a prominent role.

The album then takes a somewhat needed turn as Floating Squaw gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we have just witnessed. The ensemble provides a calm platform for Franck to pay homage to Coltrane’s elegant and soft tone. Rock Train is a beautiful blend of thunderous riffs both on guitar and saxophone recalling the sounds of Jimmy Page. An interesting concept, adding an organ, but I suppose it’s more appropriate than a Rhodes in this setting. 

The penultimate track, Next To The Mountain, is an impressive performance allowing solos all round. Franck showcases his note-splitting altissimo register while Nordsø entertains us with idiomatic fret sounds. The piece delightfully draws to a close with an improvised conversation between Christensen and Queen before finishing with the head. Sweet Silence brings it all to a close presented with a dream-like modal touch. A mixture of broken chords both by Nordsø and Besiakov gives a foundation for Franck to improvise.

So, if you’re a fan of Coltrane and Hendrix but also enjoy the subtle contribution of Miles Davis and Frank Zappa this album gives you the lot. Displaying a vast array of styles (I’ve already lost count), this is certainly a must-hear.

Discography
Take Off; Out There; Floating Squaw; Rock Train; Next To The Mountain; Sweet Silence (55.21)
Nordsø (g); Tomas Franck (ts); Ben Besiakov (kyb); Anders Christensen (b); Alvin Queen (d). Copenhagen, 2018.
Stunt Records STUCD 18092