West Wind Drift
An improvised meeting between musicians that have know each other for years, can be either boring, bland or magical. In this case, the latter might suffice, but only when adding 'inspiring' to the description.
Sjøvaag, Seglem and Hole usually appear next to each other in Karl Seglem's Acoustic Quartet, a group that have been working since 2007. Hole and Sjøvaag are also two thirds of the cult trio Eple Trio, the third member being pianist Andreas Ulvo, and adds four more years to the collaboration.
On this record, the musicians different capabilities and skills, honed through years of practice, are properly displayed through a live session recorded at Kulturhuset, Oslo, during a concert in the series 'Det Mørke Rommet', the concert also featured live visuals by Jonas Magnussen.
As is typical with these musicians, the main focus is interplay, letting each voice be heard, always holding back; waiting, listening, leaving the center stage open until the time is right to take on the leading role. In this way, the music flows and ebbs, the focus shifts back and forth, and the journey is an exploratory one where the ancient sound of goat horns kickstarts folk-inspired stretches of overtonal improvisation by Hole.
The album reaches it's jazz apex on the track 'Wayfarer.' Here, drums and bass lead the way with a compact and impressively abstract beat, before the tenor sax enters and makes for a classic free jazz listen, where remnants of the musicians previous afflictions with Coleman, Coltrane et. al. are clearly heard.
West Wind Drift is an album where the musicians, usually occupied with Nordic inspirations, lets their vision drift sideways for a moment, acknowledging the ever-present American heartbeat in the jazz genre, and fusing it with Scandinavian impulses. It makes for an album that sucks you in and keeps you there by the power of abstract melodies, deconstructed rhythm and ancient chants, and one that brightly shines on the vibrant Norwegian jazz scene.