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På skive



Italian-Swedish sax hero Alberto Pinton maintained a productive schedule during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. His new album with his new NUQuartet is the third album that he releases in the last six months, all on his own label Clear Now Records. NUQuartet is comprised of close friends and collaborators – guitarist John Berkem who recorded, mixed, mastered and co-produced the album, who hosted Pinton in his Upstairs Five; double bass player Vilhelm Bromander, who plays in Pinton Trio and in AP6C; and drummer Fredrik Rundqvist, with whom Pinton collaborated in Fredrik Nordström Quintet and recently in Berke Upstairs Five. The NUQuartet played a few performances with Pinton’s Compositions over a couple of years, rehearsed on a Saturday and recorded the following Sunday in August of 2019.

The NUQuartet sounds like a well-rehearsed working band. The compositions of Pinton for the debut album of NUQuartet are rooted in the post-bop legacy, with clear narratives and strong melodic themes, and all opt for a leisured atmosphere. Pinton – on the baritone, tenor and soprano saxes, often alternating between the saxes in the same tune – and Berke share the leading roles. Most of the time Pianton and Berke dance around and complement each other, but often Berke’s effects-laden guitar playing adds tension and contrasting colors to the playful, emphatic voice of Pinton. The rhythm section of Bromander and Fredrik Rundqvist offers solid support to the solos of Pinton and Berke, but the emphatic interplay of the NUQuartet leaves enough room for Bromander to suggest his solos.

The highlights of this impressive album are the playful and rhythmic «Unhesitant», the evocative ballad «24 Shades», the mysterious and exceptional texture of «Freedive», and the gentle and slow-cooking, last piece «Ever Present».

Eyal Hareuveni  

Alberto Pinton (bs, ts, ss), Johan Berke (g), Vilhelm Bromander (b), Fredrik Rundqvist (dr)