Pianist and composer Frank Carlberg has been living in Boston and New York for such a long time that hardly nobody remembers him anymore in his native Finland. During the US years he has, however, made a big bunch of albums with various kind and sized of combos with different styles of music.
A lot of the music he has composed is based on lyrics. This inspiration and interest for vocal music comes at least partly from his long-time spouse, Indian born vocalist Christine Correa who has participated in most of Carlberg’s recordings.
«No Money In Art» (how unfortunately true statement / headline) makes no exception on that. The album is based on poems by four distinghuised poets sang by Correa and accomppanied by Carlberg, alto saxophonist Rory O’Gallagher, bassplayer Pascal Niggenkemper and drummer Michael Sarin.
Carlberg has an excellent capacity and taste to combine different styles and rhythms in his music, from one composition to another (sometimes even during a single tune) so that the final result makes together as a harmonious whole album.
One good example of this is the main title «No Money In Art» where the basic theme suddenly turns into a strong blues during which John O’Gallagher plays a longish and bursting alto sax solo before the quartet returns back to the basic theme.
The poems on this album also represent a wide scale of various styles. The name title by Jim Gustafson is almost a short story with its massive text. On the other hand, Ken Mikolowski’s «Verbal Scenario» is based only on a list of different verbs in different tenses. Anselm Hollo’s «Clarification» consists only two short lines: Not buying you / Just buying you a drink. This particular tune is also one of the highlights of the album. Correa sings and Carlberg plays both acoustic piano and Rhodes and the roles of those two instruments constantly change from soloist to accompanist.
Christine Correa is an eloquent and multifaceted interpreter of this variable music. Sometimes she shouts, sometimes she smoothly whispers. The song ending the album, «Nothing», starts with a long ethnic style speechless singing before she gets into the actual lyrics by Ken Mikolowski.
Though his own solos are worth listening, too, Carlberg gives a lot of room to his band mates. Correa and O’Gallagher are the main soloists here. Michael Sarin is a splendid and versatile drummer. And the talents of Pascal Niggenkemper can at the latest be marked by his bass solo in lightly dancing «Headline Haiku».
As a whole «No Money In Art» is an excellent album and in every way working entity. Frank Carlsberg’s name and large-scale album production should be wider noticed not only in his native country but elsewhere, too.
Frank Carlberg (p), Christine Correa (v), John O’Gallagher (as), Pascal Niggenkemper (b), Michael Sarin (dr)