Danish, Aarhus-based guitarist Gorm Askjær describes his new album «Blodmånen og Dig» (The Blood Moon and You in Danish) as inspired by the nearby landscapes of fields, woods, and changing skies, which are also reflected by the titles of his new compositions. Askjær’s compositions for his new trio, featuring double bass player Jens Mikkel Madsen, the leader of I Think You’re Awesome, and drummer Thomas Eiler, known from SVIN, radiate a strong sense of freedom and open spaces.
«Blodmånen og Dig» is the second album of Askjær, following the debut «Tusmørkedyr» (Animals of Twilight in Danish), that was released eight years ago with another trio, augmented by American sax player Michael Blake. Since then, Askjær composed music for classical ensembles, cross-artistic collaborative projects, and works for the Aarhus Jazz Festival, but never stopped playing the guitar.
The melodic, intimate and breezy interplay of the Askjær Trio brings to mind immediately the Americana era of American guitar hero Bill Frisell. Askjær does not attempt to follow the sonic universe that Frisell has created but he succeeds to suggest a Danish twist to the now already iconic Americana sound. A smart and nuanced twist that covers alternating sensations of happiness, reflection (check «Flimmerskulptur»), «imagination» («Nede I Et Dybt Hul»), and melancholy. Often a meditative one (the beautiful melodies of «Sang Til Et Egern» (Song for a Squirrel in Danish) and of «Det Klareste Rav» (The Clearest Amberin Danish), but one that is also compassionate yet ironic, swinging yet pulse-free, reflecting on the rich jazz legacy while busy cementing its own voice.
There are two covers here: Dizzy Gillespie’s signature be-bop classic, «A Night in Tunisia», is delivered as an open piece that calls for personal improvisations and stresses its cyclical, Monk-ish rhythmic moves; and a contemplative version of the early jazz standard by James F. Hanley’s and Ballard MacDonald, «Back Home Again in Indiana».
Gorm Askjær (g), Jens Mikkel Madsen (b), Thomas Eiler (dr)