Four promising Norwegian musicians found the perfect way to escape the depression of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. The quartet Flukten (escape in Norwegian) consists of sax player Hanna Paulsberg (of Hanna Paulsberg Concept and GURLS), guitarist Marius Hirth Klovning (of Hullyboo and Skadedyr); double bass player Bárður Reinert Poulsen (of Wako and Espen Berg Trio) and drummer Hans Hulbækmo (of Atomic, Hanna Paulsberg Concept, Moskus and Skadedyr). Flukten works within the classical jazz song format – catchy head-solos-head but twisting this old recipe into ecstatic detours through hip hop, soul and folk music from all over the world. Flukten’s kind of jazz makes you move but also think, a life-affirming kind of jazz, as the title of its debut album suggests, «Velkommen Håp» (Welcome Hope in Norwegian), or the provocative cover art.
This album was recorded at Propeller Music Division in Oslo in February 2021. You can recognize the seminal influence of Joe Lovano and even Swedish Per «Texas» Johansson on Paulsberg, but her playing with this quartet is the most ‘out’ and uncompromising in her recording career so far. Klovning’s tone often brings to mind the soulful tone of John Scofield but also embraces country music and Norwegian folk music. Reinert Poulsen has a hard-swinging, Mingus-ian sound, and keeps Flukten drive. Hulbækmo is one of the most musical drummers around and he is also the main composer of Flukten.
Flukten sounds already as a working band, focused, punchy and playful, and like the American Sex Mob quartet, aims in making tons of fun, bringing jazz music back into the dance floors and is equipped with a sharp sense of humor (but leaving aside Sex Mob reincarnation of standards). The ten pieces are led by Paulsberg and Klovning and propelled by the percolating rhythm section of Reinert Poulsen and Hulbækmo. Flukten injects sparks of acrobatic fusion into the title piece and later on «Bleik myrk legg»; breezy, cyclical African rhythms into «Budeie boogie»; takes a walk into countryside sceneries on «Framsyning»; enjoys a seductive shuffle on «Barneblues» and dives into a spontaneous improvisation on the brief «Mellomspill». Klovning’s beautiful and soulful ballad «Jonas og hvalen» and Hulbækmo’s gentle, folky «Blomstrene» highlight the emphatic dynamics of Flukten. Paulsberg’s only piece «Pave Toten Totten» emphasizes the fun Flukten had recording «Velkommen Håp».
Flukten asks the listener to dance, offers a soft caress, invites into a hot sauna and later to jump into freezing water, and insists that during these unsettling times, its ecstatic music would energize you.
Hanna Paulsberg (s), Marius Hirth Klovning (g), Bárður Reinert Poulsen (b), Hans Hulbækmo (dr)