Monday, February 12, 2018

Trouble Hunting – Somebody Else With A Wrong Dog (2017)

Trouble Hunting

Tomasz Licak - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Sven Dam Meinild – alto & tenor saxophones
Tomasz Dąbrowski – trumpet
Richard Andersson – bass
Kasper Tom Christiansen – drums

Somebody Else With A Wrong Dog

RECART 0023

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by the Polish/Danish Jazz quintet Trouble Hunting, led by saxophonist/composer Tomasz Licak. On this album the other members of the quintet are: trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski, saxophonist Sven Dam Meinild, bassist Richard Andersson and drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen. These excellent young musicians play together in many other different ensembles with various personnel constellations in the last five years and produced a considerable body of recorded music together. On this album they perform seven original compositions, all by Licak.

The music is quite characteristic of the new generation of European Jazz musicians, which combines composition and free improvisation conceptually, blurring the difference between these idioms. As a result the pieces presented here are all based on composed themes, which are stated several times within the duration of each of the pieces, but most of the time serve as a basis for individual and group improvisations, which are the heart of this music. In spite of the free-spirited approach, the music manages to maintain a coherency and form, which is accessible to a relatively large fraction of the Jazz listening audiences, even though it offers no artistic compromises of attempts to sound likeable.

The individual statements of all the musicians involved are all heartfelt, honest and excellent musically. Licak plays some wicked bass clarinet parts, which are, together with the electric bass, part of the pulse behind the music and of course adds saxophone improvisations. Dąbrowski is as usual the virtuoso in the pack with some heartbreaking solo parts, but also great as part of the "brass section" playing the unisono melody statements. Meinild adds his beautiful gentle tone on both alto and tenor saxophones, expanding the overall sound of the band considerably. Andersson plays electric bass, which sounds perfectly in place in this environment, which is usually reserved for the acoustic double bass. Christiansen, also as usual, plays the drums, managing to keep the time and play around it with his seemingly endless box of percussive tricks. Altogether this is a wonderful display of amazing individual talents and superb ensemble work.

Albums like this one are not only aesthetically pleasing and heartwarming, but first and foremost point the way towards the development of European Jazz, which is still making giant steps forwards and manages to discover new territory, to the joy of the connoisseurs of the genre. This is brilliant stuff from start to finish, which I wholeheartedly recommend to everybody who enjoys challenge while listening to music. Well done Sirs!

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