HOPSCOTCH: Hotscotch (Ilk Music)


Posted on Nov 17th 2011 01:38 am

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Hopscotch: Hopscotch

Ilk Music 2011
10 Tracks. 44mins13secs

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

Hopscotch is the meeting of three jazz musicians with very different backgrounds, united by the fact that they all currently reside in Copenhagen, Denmark. Italian saxophonist Francesco Bigoni, Argentinian/Danish guitarist Mark Solborg and Canadian drummer Kevin Brow have between them released a considerable amount of music via their many respective projects, but this first common project sees them lay the foundation of a new partnership and explore the ground that connects them. The album was recorded in live conditions with all three musicians performing together in one room toward the end of last year, and is now being released on Danish jazz imprint Ilk Music.

Throughout this album, the trio alternate between introspective moments, where guitar and sax are often locked into delicate musical dialogues, while the drums provide a delicate yet sustained backdrop, and moments of much more intense energy, which once again see guitar and sax interacting, but in much more abrupt fashion. Equally the band switch between fully prepared compositions and improvised moments with great ease. The music collected here is at once extremely fluid and elegant, even in its most experimental incarnations. Syncopated sax phrases are echoed by equally fragmented guitar lines on tracks such as Brainwashing or Meet Mr Green, while Hopscotch turns into a power trio for Elope Soon, as guitar and sax fight for attention over ever shifting rhythmic patterns. The trio opt for a more subtle set up on Socca, but here again all three instruments combine to create an incredibly tight and dynamic sequence.

At its quietest, Hopscotch is revealed as a particularly impressive formation, each performance remaining extremely controlled yet allowing beautiful expressive sections. As guitar and sax mirror each other for part of Airports, the pair weave wonderfully sparse melodies, barely disturbed by the shimmer of delicate percussions, and as their paths diverge, the retinue on display is all the more apparent. Almost is equally as delicate, but Brow’s presence is felt much more, especially toward the middle of the piece where he assembles a pretty intricate mesh of tiny percussive noises as Bigoni and Solborg add disjointed touches. The album concludes on a fairly reflective note, first with Not Interesting, But True which, despite picking up pace for a moment in its second half, proves to be one of the most subtle pieces on here, then with the stunning E, on which sax and guitar draw rather superb motifs around each other one last time, with only a few percussive touches which only serve to highlight its overall fragility.

Caught between great intensity and ethereal beauty, this first album from Hopscotch is a pretty fascinating affair. While still a very young formation, the trio already shows a great level of maturity, making this album a true delight from start to finish.


Francesco Bigoni | Mark Solborg | Kevin Brow | Ilk Music
Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Spotify: STRM

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