Norwegian tenor sax player-composer André Roligheten is one of the most brilliant voices in the fertile Nordic scene, known for his prominent roles in Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic Unity and Supersonic Orchestra, Team Hegdal, Friends & Neighbors and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Roligheten leads a Scandinavian supergroup on his second album as a bandleader Marbles – Swedish pedal steel guitarist Johan Lindström and vibes player Mattias Ståhl, and Norwegian double bass player Jon Rune Strøm (who also plays in Friends & Neighbors and recorded a duo album with Roligheten, Arv, Stone Floor, 2019. Roligheten played in Strøm Quintet’s Fragments, Clean Feed, 2018) and drummer Gard Nilssen (who also plays in Team Hegdal).
Roligheten’s eight pieces weave wisely the highly personal and opinionated voices of the experienced musicians, and it is clear that he knows intimately the musical personalities of these musicians. He turns this ad-hoc quintet into a tight and powerful collective that stretches, bends and lifts these pieces together to new sonic terrains. Roligheten describes his pieces as «parallel realities» matching historical-retrospective and future-oriented elements like concrete/absurd and the down-to-earth/spiritual. These opposite poles provide friction and energy and all the pieces suggest a sense of gravitation, «like the planets in a solar system», or like «marbles floating away in a galaxy far, far away».
Roligheten’s big and warm tenor sax and his masculine, powerful solos send the listener immediately to the great legacy of the big terrorists of jazz. But his compositions are far from being nostalgic. The eight pieces not only juggle with «parallel realities» but layer emotional melodic veins with sexy grooves and magical solos of all musicians, especially of Lindström and Ståhl, all satisfying the energetic, sensual body and the curious soul. Marbles is described like sounding as an imaginative meeting of Sonny Rollins (and the opening piece is titled «Sonny River») and Egberto Gismonti on the beach at a yoga retreat in Hawaii that inspires both legends to make an album together. You can also imagine this great quintet cooking during the imaginative and inspiring meeting a world peace and blissful enlightenment for all Earth’s creatures.
André Roligheten (tenor saxophone), Johan Lindström (pedal steel guitar), Mattias Ståhl (vibraphone), Jon Rune Strøm (double bass), Gard Nilssen (drums)