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På skive


«The Was and is to Come»

Barrage is a Scandinavian septet headed by Norwegian, Trondheim-based double bass player Alexander Riris, who also plays in another young band ØyvindLAND, and featuring Danish, Oslo-based reeds player Signe Emmeluth, who recently won Molde Jazz Festival’s JazZtipendiat. This band began working in 2017 with a strong commitment to reviving the seminal heritage of free jazz pioneers Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. Its name may suggest that it owes much also to another innovative free jazz pioneer, pianist Paul Bley, who released a seminal album, titled «Barrage» (ESP, 1965).

«The Was and is to Come», a word-play on a quote from the book Revelation referring to Christ, is the debut album of Barrage and its nine compositions were composed by Riris. His compositions and arrangements make full use of the front line of trumpeter Erling Skorpen (check his beautiful, lyrical solo on «for Mark» and his soaring solo on «The Was») and the three sax players – Emmeluth, who doubles on bass clarinet, Christian Cuadra and Erlend Vangen, but most of the time sound more disciplined and reserved than the revolutionary, free ones of Coleman and Dolphy.

«The Was» offers a contrast between the highly disciplined, rhythmic introduction of the sax players and the rhythm section and its suggestive freedom, articulated first by Skorpen, and later the sax players and pianist Hogne Klebierg and drummer Ingvald Vassbø to deconstruct the rhythmic theme and free-improvise. «Moriarty» nods to the brilliant, post-bop compositions of Dolphy, and «O» has the urgent, buzzing Energy of Coleman’s bands, with corresponding solos of Emmeluth, on the bass clarinet, Skorpen, and Klebierg. «Blåsekvartett» takes the concept of freedom seriously, exploring an open and poetic interplay of Emmeluth, again on the bass clarinet, and sax players Cuadra and Vangen. The last «Is And/And Is» is driven by the bass playing of Riris as it sketches a playful, melodic theme.

A promising debut.

Eyal Hareuveni

Erling Skorpen (tp), Christian Cuadra (ss, as), Signe Emmeluth (as, bcl), Erlend Vangen Kongtorp (ts, as), Hogne Klebierg (p), Alexander Riris (b) Ingvald Vassbø (dr)

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