Jazzwise June 2004
16/06/2004 :: Arild Andersen - Selected Recordings (four out of five stars)
Arild Andersen is one of a handful of key Norwegian musicians that include Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen, Terje Rypdal that as far back as the 1970s was putting Norway on the jazz map while asserting a powerful European voice in the music. Andersen is a complete jazz bassist. His Molde Concert from 1981, with Alphonse Mouzon on drums, contains two solos, one pizzicato and the other arco, and in ensemble he alternates between straight ahead, Ray Brown style and jazz-rock on 'The Sword Under His Wings'. But this is only one aspect of his playing; this anthology reveals him in a variety of musical contexts, from a hyper-sensitive duet with a very young Bill Frisell to his interest in adapting Norwegian folkloric melodies into his music on the album Sagn - here represented by the track 'Sagn' - to his current piano trio with Vassilis Tsabropoulos and John Marshall on drums. Of particular interest are the tracks with his group Masqualero, a band that played a significant role in reflecting a Norwegian perspective on jazz and was a fixture on the European jazz landscape for 10 years. With Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, Tore Brunborg on soprano and Jon Christensen on drums this excellent ensemble show display both balance and ingenuity on a traditional piece called 'Gardsjenta,' arranged by Andersen. In an anthology not lacking for highlights, one of the most absorbing of Andersen's choices is a session with the Finnish saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen whose saxophone tone and musical conception is both moving and unsettling.