Eberson: Between Two Worlds

Norwegian guitarist, sometimes searing, sometimes ethereal, echoes Terje Rypdal and touches on jazz-rock, acid-rock, prog and Pink Floyd

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Perhaps rather lazily I tend to think of guitarist Jon Eberson (b.1953) as a player and composer whose career has shadowed that of compatriot Terje Rypdal. Yet while echoes of Rypdal’s pioneering mid- to late 70s ECM output abound on this, his second Jazzland collaboration with daughter Marte, Between Two Worlds serves as a timely reminder of Eberson’s own distinctly impressive credentials.

The group has undergone a major overhaul since 2018’s pop-influenced Empathy, and this time around Marte’s dreamy vocals are entirely absent. Joining the fray are bassist Jo Berger Myhre (Splashgirl), percussionist Rune Arnesen (Nils Petter Molvær) and drummer Axel Skalstad (Krokofant). Significant changes, and the music now takes on a more open and expansive feel.

All of the compositors are co-credited to the Ebersons, and deliberately juxtapose a broad spectrum of moods and colours. The ethereal pedal swells of opener Dream Walking are pure Rypdal, but as it slowly gathers momentum the dense rhythmic cross-fire bridges across to Rune Grammofon’s new generation of Scandinavian jazz-rock.

Eberson’s stinging solo on the motoric Strange Highway owes as much to 60s acid rock as Mahavishnu, but even at its most visceral his tone remains crystal cut. Dialling down the energy, if not the intensity, Marte’s glistening Zawinul-esque Rhodes on Reverie is the perfect foil to her father’s raw, emotive lines.

Dancing With The Big Fish again sees Marte in her element, this time propelled by a heavy, low-end bass groove. Elsewhere, Eberson’s searing guitar ignites the anthemic title-track, The Butterfly’s Dream is as atmospheric a tone poem as you could wish, and the mildly Floydian finale perfectly encapsulate Eberson’s cross-generational alchemy.

Striking a perfect balance between the cerebral and the emotional, Between Two Worlds is a wonderfully realised and enjoyable set.

Discography:
Dream Walking; Strange Highway; Reverie; Dancing With The Big Fish; Between Two Worlds; The Butterfly’s Dream; The Wounded Wolf (42.00)
Jon Eberson (elg); Marte Eberson (kyb); Jo Berger Myhre (b, elb); Rune Arnesen (pc); Axel Skalstad (d). Nabolaget Studio, Oslo, no date.
Jazzland Recordings 377 942 2