Thursday, November 22, 2018

Living Things - Upwind Circles (2016)

Living Things

Sven Dam Meinild - saxophones, flutes
Tomasz Dąbrowski - trumpet, flutes
Paul Wacrenier - piano, vibes
Casper Nyvang Rask - bass
Rune Lohse - drums, flutes

Upwind Circles


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by young European Jazz ensemble Living Things, which comprises of Danish saxophonist/composer Sven Dam Meinild, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski, French pianist / vibraphonist Paul Wacrenier and a Dutch rhythm section: bassist Casper Nyvang Rask and drummer Rune Lohse. All five musicians are also credited for playing the flute. The album presents fourteen original compositions, nine composed by Meinild and five by Wacrenier.

The music is based on composed themes, which serve as basis for individual and collective improvisations. It is very open and unconstrained, obviously geared towards improvisation and individuality, like all the albums released by the Copenhagen based Barefoot Records collective, owned by the musicians who record on the label and which is home to some of the most fascinating young European Jazz and Improvised Music.

Traces of many diverse musical influences can be found in this music, from contemporary Classical to World Music and Folklore, via the Jazz tradition, which is treated here very open-mindedly. There are also many superb individual statements by all the musicians involved. Dąbrowski, as usual, creates many heart-wrenching trumpet solos, which repeatedly give evidence to the fact that he is one of the leading European trumpet players today. But to be fair also Meinild and Wacrenier contribute many enchanted vistas on their respective instruments, and the rhythm section, which plays anything but rhythm of course, glues the music together.

There young European lions are so creative and so productive/prolific, that it becomes almost impossible to follow the avalanche of releases produced by them across the continent. Jazz/Improvised Music is experiencing an incredible Renaissance, which creates an unprecedented surge of new music, new talents and new musical horizons, of which this music is a commendable representative. Well done!

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