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At Copenhagen Jazzfestival 2011 Danish guitarist and composer Mark Solborg invited the legendary British saxophonist and improviser Evan Parker to join his trio and the fabulous american trumpetplayer Herb Robertson. An unusual and unique meeting across borders and generations was at hand. The group played three exclusive concerts in Copenhagen, one at Århus International Jazzfestival and spent a day in the studio - documenting the discoveries made during the concerts - What you hear on The Trees is a selection of what happened that day.
Solborg describes the project as an essential peak in his work with improvised music. The extreme collective awareness of all 5 players, and Parkers deeply rooted aproach, gives the music an almost symphonic caracter - like a walk through an arboretum (a botanical garden of trees). This music is not about oneway soliloquies but a conversation between equal musical landscape-architects. Listen carefully and you will find a curious world of views, light and tales within the sounds and shapes carefully molded by these master musicians.
British pianoplayer and composer Django Bates par excellence has added the very poetic linernotes on The Trees. The album is available digitally, as CD and a beautiful 180g limited edition LP.
With 12 releases as leader or co. leader and performances at leading European jazzfestivals Solborg has established himself with clear defined imprints on the Danish and International Jazz- and Improv-scene. His production includes both composed and improvised music. Besides Eillertsen, Parker & Robertson collaborators include Chris Speed, Hank Roberts, Paal Nilssen-Love, Francesco Bigoni, Marc Lohr, Lotte Anker, a.o. His work as guitarist and composer has recieved substantial international recognition.
On his latest release with new original compositions for nonet, Solborg 4+4+1 :
"Solborgs 4+4+1 nonet moves like a proud ship with all sails up into the wind, carrying a dear treasure delivered with great trust and loving care. It is set ashore on the pier of this years most exquisite Danish jazz"
- Bjarne Søltoft, Jazznytt, Norge
"...stunningly built up from a palette of tonal colors. Solborg’s CD impresses."
- Ken Waxman, New York City Jazz Record
Evan Parker is an exceptional musician. He stands as a leading figure and icon on the European Jazz- and Improv-scene. His regular musical partners since the 60’s includes Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, Peter Kowald, Alex von Schlippenbach, Paul Lovens, Barry Guy o.a. American associates includes Anthony Braxton, Cecil taylor, Paul Bley, Rashied Ali, a.o. Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering.
“There is, still, nothing else in music - jazz or otherwise - that remotely resembles an Evan Parker solo concert. Such intensity of purpose has guided Parker’s own work for over 30 years. lt is the main reason he is now widely acknowledged as “one of the music’s greatest living instrumentalists” (The Times)
“one of the world’s finest ensemble improvisers” (Chicago Reader)
“one of the modern era’s most original voices” (The Wire).
Herb Robertsons fabulous work with Tim Berne, Bobby Previte, Bill Frisell, David Sanborn, Paul Motian, Barry Guy’s New Orchestra, Marc Ducret, New Jungle Orchestra, John Zorn, Roswell Rudd, Rashied Ali, Ray Anderson, Dewey Redman, Evan Parker, Charlie Haden Music Liberation Orchestra and so many others has placed him as a unique musician and carismatic improviser within Jazz and new improvised music. His melodic and sonorous approach draws freely on the entire tradition from Armstrong via Davis to Barry Guy, Gustafson, and their music of today.
The collaboration between Robertson and Solborg started in 2008 with the recording of the critically acclaimed duo-album NOD (ILK152CD)
"Every quiet passage here is invested with personality - Brian Morton, Jazz Journal, UK .. A small masterpiece ..refined sonic art by two articulate partners in conversation"
- Ib skovgaard, Weekendavisen, DK
"..tough and tender .. unbeatable skills"
- Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, US
"Can’t find better nightvision"
- Ole Albrekt Nedrelid, Jazznytt, Norway
Since then the two has met on a regular basis in Copenhagen playing with different constellations set up by Solborg. In 2010 a small tour of Damaskus with the band SpeakOut was a blast. In 2012 the two visited Tampere Jazz Happening with Eilertsen, Bruun, Lotte Anker and Mikko Innanen, and toured Poland and DK.
The rhythm-section behind Mark Solborg is an exceptional and unpredictable combination of Norwegian Bassplayer Mats Eilertsen and Danish drummer Peter Bruun. Eilertsen is one of the finest on his instrument in Norway. He’s all over the place and has performed and recorded with Food, The Source, Ernst Reijseger, Pat Metheny (!), Bobo Stenson (for ECM), Tord Gustafson ( for ECM).o.a. Bruun is one of the most talented drummers in Denmark. He is currently a regular in Django Bates Trio, Marc Ducret Quintet and a number of Danish contemporary groups.
“One hell of a record...” - Joe Higham
.....you listen because the listen is thrilling, and you don’t want to let go..."
- This is book's music
"So dunkel und mystisch das Cover, so vital und lichtklar die freien Jazz-Improvisationen des dänischen Bandprojektes "The Trees". .. kein Stilbrei, kein Musikramsch, kein atonaler Müll, sondern die Suche nach einer freien, intelligenten Musik nach allen bekannten Mustern. "The Trees" scheint genau dieser Idee (in der nächsten Generation) zu sein."
"a channel for a kind of universal music.. ..for those whose ears are attuned to the unexpected, Solborg’s music will strike a deep chord."
- Irish Times
“Evan Parker’s circular soprano bubbles up like hot mud in a volcanic puddle or twitters like scratchy birdsong, while Herb Robertson’s loose-lipped, brassy gusts sound like a hyperventilating huntsman breaking the morning stillness. When Solborg turns to the electric guitar he’s capable of vague, wafting mists or, on “Dogwood”, a harsh tangle of barbed wire....”
- Dan Spicer – The Wire, UK
All 5 musicians deliver exquisite performances, but it is the collective spirit, where nobody gets in each others way, that produces this rooted and wonderful music. All ten tracks are sublime selections from the studio.. For each listen it prickles and tingles in new and stimulating ways from Solborg & friends’ collected herbarium. - or with Django Bates’ cunning words: ”Play on, in time with the timeless, bendy rhythm of noble trees, and in beautifully imperfect harmony with the world.”
- Bjarne Søltoft, JazzSpecial
The Trees is the latest new perspective from which Mark Solborg looks at the world of improvisation, and confirms him as one of the most fervid and intriguing musicians on the European scene. Vincenzo Roggero - All about Jazz Italia
"..Parker’s interaction with the Scandinavians is the unknown factor here; unsurprisingly there’s little fissure. “Skyrækker No. 1”, for instance, shows how easily Solborg and Parker bond. As the guitarist pieces together strokes and slides with intuitive note placement, Parker slurs until erupting into a flurry of multiphonics... ..beautifully modulated textures..."
Ken Waxman, New York City Jazz Record
"Mark Solborg er en dygtig guitarist med en nysgerrig tilgang til instrumentet og en solid fornemmelse for klangfarve. Dette kunne i sig selv være spændende nok, men der hvor Solborg især udmærker sig, er hans evne til at sammensætte stærke ensembler og ved konstant at udfordre sit eget talent i dialog med andre markante stemmer... ..Alle fem musikere udviser nemlig en fornemmelse for helheden, der hæver de frie improvisationer op til noget andet og større end selvoptaget talen i munden på hinanden. Improvisation kræver koncentration og åbenhed, men også en ydmyghed over for det fælles projekt, og man finder det alt sammen på The Trees, hvor alle fem musikere tapper ind i en kollektiv nerve, som de hver især lader musikken vokse frem af, og som de farver med hver deres baggrund og erfaringshorisont... ..Ligesom det kræver noget at spille denne form for musik, kræver den også et nærvær fra lytterens side. Dog trænger musikken sig ikke på, men står der snarere som en invitation, et landskab med mulighed for at træde ind i. Det er en invitation, man varmt anbefales at tage imod.
Rasmus Steffensen, Seismograf