«Ori Variations»is the sophomore album of the duo of composer-saxophonist- keyboardist and church organist Elisabeth Engdahl and soprano sax player Thomas Gustafsson, who is also her husband. Gustafsson has played in many of the Country & Eastern label projects, including with Bengt Berger’s Beches Brew band.
The duo debut album, «Rest In Peace» (Country in Eastern, 2012), featured original compositions of Engdahl and Gustafsson and interpretations of Keith Jarrett and Joe Zawinul classics, all arranged for church organ and soprano saxophone. «Ori Variations» was recorded in the Church of Fässberg, Mölndal, Gothenburg on October 2016. It continues the mission of «Rest In Peace». Engdahl and Gustafsson still want to fill the empty acoustic rooms and silent organ pipes of the church «with sounds to vibrate far beyond their walls».
This time Gustafsson wrote all the music to the six-part suite. The contemplative, tender development of the beautiful, innocent melodies and the duo sonic ideas have a strong disarming quality. The music avoids typical cliches of religious compositions for the church organ, at times even comes close to the atmospheric territories of John Surman, on his solo albums for ECM. Still, the somber tone and the clever way that Engdahl and Gustafsson fill the church space with their quiet melodies call for reflection and a different mode of listening, a more patient and compassionate one.
Let yourselves swept by this beautiful music.
Elisabeth Engdahl (church organ); Thomas Gustafsson (ss)