JJ 02/83: Arild Andersen – A Molde Concert

Forty years ago Barry McRae welcomed the tracks in which improvisation - content - rescued the bassist's session from atmospheric gesturing. First published in Jazz Journal February 1983


The Molde Festival organisers gave Andersen the freedom to pick a group of his choice for the 1981 event. This record gives evidence that he chose men that could do the job he wanted and, despite limited rehearsal, the group manages to become highly integrated.

Ironically, the most European sounding musician on parade is American Bill Frisell, and this fact comes over most strongly on Life Lines and Predawn. These are the type of at­mospheric tracks so popular with the Norwegians and with the ECM company, but to jazz ears they re­present the only low spots of the record. Again it is a case of effect taking precedence over content.

How much better it is when the soloists get an opportunity to inject their own creative thoughts into the proceedings. The leader’s playing on The Sword, and Taylor’s discursive piano on Earflap and his fine explor­atory development of Tagreta have so much more to offer. So does the contrapuntal conversation between Andersen and Frisell on Cameron and, with Mouzon providing his characteristically uncomplicated but swinging drum figures throughout, this is a record with plenty to recommend it.

Cherry Tree; Life Lines; Predawn; The Sword Under His Wings (29.00) – Tagreta; Commander Schmuck’s Earflap Hat; Cameron; Koral (26.45)
John Taylor (p); Bill Frisell (g); Arild Andersen (b); Alphonse Mouzon (d). Molde, Norway August 1981.
(ECM 1236)