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Release date : May 21st 2012
Jesper Løvdal is back with his second album this spring, and this time he is releasing an album made in close collaboration with the legendary German jazz drummer Günter Baby Sommer.
Jesper Løvdal has a long music career behind him where he has been involved in many different music projects, most recently with the release of Lovedale’s third studio album Green Sounds. He is a highly appraised jazz musician with a special focus on musical improvisation and he operates various wind instruments.
German Günter Baby Sommer is one of the masterminds of contemporary European jazz music. He is an excellent drummer and over one hundred albums is the result of his long professional career.
This album contains eleven magnificent tracks, which all hold an extreme energy that makes it perfectly clear to the listener what these two creative minds can produce with their instruments. The rough combination of Jesper Løvdal’s strong saxophone and Günter Baby Sommer’s drumming creates a noteworthy sound that not only brings you to different musical mind stages, but also challenges the way music is normally absorbed.
With this album a strong duo has come to life and the mix of jazz, avantgarde and musical improvisation makes this album a breath of fresh air in every dusty record collection.
"Avoiding traditional melodies in the main, the 11 instant compositions on the Løvdal/Sommer date allow the reedist, who has recorded with the likes of drummer Jeff Ballard and trumpeter Cuong Vu, to display his prowess on tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet, flute and pennywhistle. Additionally, on the jolly and jaunty “Maultrommel”, Sommer reveals a hitherto unheralded skill in jaw-harp improvisation, plucking in tandem with Løvdal’s humming and blowing flute lines. The only nod to the tradition comes on the aptly named “Billy Strayhorn”. Here Løvdal on tenor saxophone constructs his solo with breathy glissandi as if he was Ben Webster playing the dedicatee’s “Chelsea Bridge” as the drummer provides gong-like reverb behind him. In many cases however Løvdal’s virtuosity appears to be of the expected variety. His flute peeping references aviary notes, and his baritone sax snorts and slurs are suitably subterranean, for instance. Meantime the drummer ranges through woody castanet and clave-like shakes as well as more conventional pops and drags as he plays.
More substantial than his work on other horns are Løvdal’s forays on clarinet and tenor saxophone. The most descriptive instance of his straight wooden reed power is on “First Movement” where he moves from long-lined coloratura trills with wide-bore echoes to strained glottal punctuation, while the drummer scrubs his drum tops and subsequently accompanies the clarinetist using staccato rattles from what sound like wooden gourds, a bell tree and unlathed cymbals. As Løvdal moves through swallows, snorts, reed bites and squeaks, culminating in a face-off between melody and multiphonics, Sommer is there with balanced ruffs and pitter-pattering.
“Second Movement” plus the two following tracks are a tripartite showcase for Løvdal’s tenor saxophone. As the reedist transforms himself into a Scandinavian Sonny Rollins, elongating and exaggerating the broken-octave exposition, while emotionally running the scales with melody slurs, reed bites, triple-tonguing and virtual call-and-response pulsing, the drummer remains unruffled. Sommer keeps this trio of tracks moving with bravura brush work and inverted sticking, encompassing perfectly timed rebounds, bounces and flams.
Whether it’s with new associates or old ones, on these CDs Sommer easily demonstrates how to organically advance a satisfying program."
-Ken Waxman, Jazzword