Silent Fires: Forests


Italian pianist Alessandro Sgobbio (b 1982) produced this most thoughtful album, where he is joined by three young but already widely experienced Norwegians, the quartet conjuring a poetically charged session of ultra-refined collaboration: in live performance, apparently, this can extend to working with dancers or other artists.

As Luca Vitali documented in his 2014 The Sound Of The North: Norway And The European Jazz Scene, much has happened in Norwegian jazz since the generation which, following the early work of Karin Krog, saw the breakthrough days of the so-called Big Four of Garbarek, Rypdal, Andersen and Christensen. The genre-slipping spirit of all five of these founding Norwegian figures can still be detected in this patiently worked, sometimes vividly dramatic music: hear From The Entrance Of Love. But there is a distinctive intimacy of unfolding aspiration to this unclassifiable, often arch-like chamber music; an anima-rich melding and transmutation of folk and classical, jazz and avant-sound elements, the whole offering a shape-shifting terrain of both freshly configured tone-poem beauty and archetypal spiritual quest.

All the musicians can play, and play very well: hear Aase’s meditative opening violin figures in Love, for example, the power of Sgobbio’s piano in the development of Prajna and the haunting beauty of Holsen’s electronically processed trumpet sound and Wallace’s gently soaring, high-register vocals on Banyak. But it’s the group sensitivity to transmutative nuance, to an exquisite interplay of sound and silence, the dynamics of pianissimo and fortissimo, which makes this music special.

En Aestheneia; From The Entrance Of Love; Similar Lymphs; Luca Della Perfezione; Love; Silent Fires; Qaf; Prajna; The Light Of The Lights; Banyak; All Volta Del Sol (40.03)
Karoline Wallace (v); Hilde Marie Holsen (t, electronics); Håkon Aase (vn, pc); Alessandro Sgobbio (p).
AMP Music AT 058