MATS EILERTSEN: SkyDive (Hubro Music)


Posted on Oct 19th 2011 08:53 pm

Filed in Albums | Tags: , , , ,
Comments (0)

Mats Eilertsen: SkyDive

Hubro Music 2011
09 Tracks. 53mins26secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Like many of his contemporaries, Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen has learnt his craft playing alongside some of the best jazz musicians around, from Tord Gustavsen, Sonny Simmons or Jarle Vespestad to Thomas Strønen, Trygve Seim or Håkon Kornstad, and has been, and continues to be in most case, a member of various formations. He was notably one of the founding members of Food, the then quartet led by British saxophonist Iain Ballamy, with Thomas Strønen and Arve Henriksen, and still regularly contributes to the Tord Gustavsen Ensemble, The Source and Wolfert Brederode Quartet amongst others.

Eilertsen’s first album as band leader, Turanga, was released in 2004 on Aim Records, but his current quintet, with saxophonist Tore Brunborg, pianist Alexi Tuomarila, guitarist Thomas T. Dahl and drummer Olavi Louhivuori, was assembled two years ago for Radio Yonder, Eilertsen’s first release for Hubro. Following an outing as a trio, with Harmen Fraanje and Thomas Strønen (Elegy, Hubro, 2010), Eilertsen is once again heading his quintet for his latest album, SkyDive.

Recorded in Oslo, SkyDive continues to showcase the extreme musicality of Eilertsen’s compositions as he makes very good use of his collaborators, giving each one their own space in which to evolve and contribute. As an ensemble, the quintet is finely balanced, with no musician given any particular prominence. Naturally, the piano and sax share much of the central focus throughout, as pieces alternate between wonderfully light and fluid piano sequences and equally textured and airy sax moments, from the heady heights of opening composition Splendor or exquisite angularity of The Void to the serene nonchalance of pieces such as Memento or The Old Oak, but Brunborg and Tuomarila are extremely careful to weave their respective contributions into the overall fabric of Eilertsen’s compositions and never overshadow the rest of the formation.

On Parachute Psalm, the introspective mood is served quite beautifully by Tuomarila, with Eilertsen providing an exact reflection of the pianist’s line for part of the piece, before distancing himself from it as the drums eventually come in. Elsewhere, Thomas T. Dahl joins the Brunborg/Tuomarila partnership and weaves subtle guitar textures into Birds Perspective or SkyDive, and warm electric guitar tones onto the primary theme in The Pilots Choice.

Standing slightly to the back as he builds a strong alliance with Olavi Louhivuori, Eilertsen observes the proceedings, carving hypnotic bass lines to in turn emphasise on the natural groove of a piece or underline its subtle relief. While their respective contributions manage to be at once fairly discreet and extremely present as they drive the pace of these compositions, Eilertsen and Louhivuori are, like is the case in many jazz formations, utterly essential to the overall bound which links these compositions together.

In turn intimate or playful, introspective or passionate, SkyDive is a particularly evocative and incisive record. At the helm of his formation, Mats Eilertsen is a discreet yet determined leader, and his quintet, itself a gathering of impressive young Scandinavian talents, is extremely tight and effective. With this to convey his well-thought compositions, SkyDive is undoubtedly proving his strongest work to date.


Mats Eilertsen | Mats Eilertsen (MySpace) | Hubro Music
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Filed in Albums | Tags: , , , ,
Comments (0)

Comments are closed.