Tomasz Dąbrowski - trumpet
Kenneth Dahl Knudsen - bass
Malte Schiller - conductor
We'll Meet In The Rain
TWO RIVERS 008
By Adam Baruch
This is the third album by Danish bassist/composer Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, this time recorded with a Big Band (including a string quartet) consisting of nineteen musicians originating from many different countries, like Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski, Israeli (resident in Berlin) pianist Uri Gincel and others. The album presents nine original compositions, all by Knudsen.
As all Big Band projects, this is a much more ambitious undertaking than Knudsen's first two albums, which were recorded by small ensembles. The music is also much more complex and moves outside of the mainstream Jazz idiom into contemporary Classical and orchestral music, which is more difficult than his earlier efforts. Of course more ambitious music is a sign of personal development and can only be seen as a move in the right direction.
Knudsen writes beautiful melodies and his music has always been based on his solid compositions, which is also the case here. Performed by a big ensemble the melodies are less straightforward of course, as the orchestral arrangements sometimes hide the melody, but that is the nature of the beast.
The performances by the individual players are all quite impressive and the whole band is kept on track by the conductor Malte Schiller, who does a splendid job. The introduction of the human voice, with vocalist Marie Seferian who sings superb vocalese parts, is a nice touch and adds another layer to the music, but on the other hand takes it away from the Jazz core. The entire ensemble manages to keep a nice balance between the brass section, the string section and the rhythm section, producing an overall coherent result.
I have been following Knudsen's career for a few years now and it is great to see his musical personality grow and take on new challenges, like the making of this album. This album puts his composition skills at the focus of our attention, rather than his abilities as a bass player, but those have been already amply demonstrated on his earlier recording as a leader and sideman. One can only hope that this album reaches as many open-minded listeners as possible, as this music certainly deserves to be heard and enjoyed my many. Congratulations on a job well done and looking forward to your next endeavors, my young and talented friend!