Advertisement
Advertisement

Hedvig Mollestad: Ekhidna

In brief:
"If you are searching for an album of pure jazz metal and shimmering compositions, look no further. This guitarist is touched by genius"

Norwegian heavy-metal jazz guitarist Hedvig Mollestad has doubled the ante, literally, by increasing her usual trio by a hundred percent to a taut, energy-packed sextet. Her new album Ekhidna takes its name from the half-woman, half-snake creature of Greek mythology, rather appropriately since the album comprises half female and half male musicians

The session is the direct result of Mollestad receiving a commission from the long-established Vossajazz annual festival based in Voss, Norway and is the successor to her previous, highly rated trio album Smells Funny (Rune, 2018).

Advertisement

The deceptively restrained short opener No Friends But The Mountains gives way to the riff-heavy A Stone’s Throw, which although nearer to Mollestad’s usual oeuvre betrays the added difference of an extended line-up notably featuring the lithe trumpet of Susana Santos Silva. In a temporary gear change there’s also some luscious glissando guitar around two minutes in that recalls Dave Gilmour’s soloing on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon (Harvest, 1973) but all the more intriguing for that; this distinctive, albeit deceptive lull in proceedings precedes the ensuing mêlée in the track’s final three minutes.

The 10-minute workout of Antilone sees Mollestad back on familiar high-octane turf, but again leavened by intermittent lyrical trumpet bridges. It’s here that we experience Mollestad’s incredibly muscular vibrato, reminiscent of Larry Coryell’s impassioned electric guitar technique.

Before the Hendrixian, serpentine coruscation of the album’s title track, there’s a three-minute, quietly mesmeric interregnum appropriately named Slightly Lighter. But it’s the slow burn of the closer One Leaf Left that acts as the stereotypical talisman of the record, displaying in turn both Mollestad’s sensitivity and sheer heft.

If you are searching for an album of pure jazz metal and shimmering compositions, look no further. This guitarist is touched by genius.

Hear/buy Hedvig Mollestad: Ekhidna at runegrammofon.com

Discography
No Friends But The Mountains; A Stone’s Throw; Antilone; Slightly Lighter; Ekhidna; One Leaf Left (40.00)
Mollestad (elg); Susana Santos Silva (t); Marte Eberson, Erlend Slettevoll (kyb); Torstein Lofthus(d); Ole Mofjell (pc). Oslo, c. 2020.
Rune Grammofon RCD2215

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Dave Stryker: Eight Track Christmas

Just in time for December just gone, guitarist Dave Stryker released Eight Track Christmas, an album of 10 covers of both popular...
Advertisement

Obituary: João Gilberto

A key figure in the bossa nova explosion of the early 1960s, João Gilberto was often reclusive, rarely gave interviews, and disliked...
Advertisement

Billy Jenkins: poking a stick

'Working all my life as a musician and bandleader most of which (together with all 20th-century popular musical styles) has been...
Advertisement

Jazz Transatlantic: The African Undercurrent In Twentieth-Century Jazz Culture

Gerhard Kubik is a doyen of ethnomusicological research into jazz and African music. His masterwork comprises two simultaneously...
Advertisement

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes

For jazz enthusiasts of my vintage and persuasion, Blue Note was the modern jazz label. (Partisans of Prestige, Atlantic, Esquire, Riverside et...
Advertisement

JJ 03/90: Miles – The Autobiography

No jazz autobiography has been more eagerly awaited than that of Miles Dewey Davis III, jazz music's venerable Prince of Darkness, the...