Friday, 3 March 2017

Surman / Krog / Rypdal / Storaas - Nordic Quartet (rec. 1994, rel. 1995)

Another of ECM's more daring and slightly strange get-togethers - in other words, a perfect fit for this blog.  In August 1994, legendary Norwegian jazz singer Karin Krog got together with on-and-off collaborator John Surman and Norse colleagues Terje Rypdal and Vigleik Storaas.  I haven't heard pianist Storaas anywhere else as yet, and he's a fine understated presence on this reed and guitar dominated set.

Rypdal's billowing guitar is in fact all over the album like malignant, brooding Scandi-noir oppressive weather.  This led some reviewers to criticise how much he dominates - obviously not a problem if, like me, you can't enough of Rypdal's playing.  You'd never guess this album was a summer recording, as Surman too is in bleak, chilly mode; even without that perfect cover photograph this is a full-on zero-degrees experience.  Over the top of all of this, Krog coos and whispers ominously like the cool-headed Nordic detective who's just about to uncover something atrocious on those snowy docks.

Watching Shadows

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