Danish double bass player-composer Kenneth Dahl Knudsen thinks about the whole world as a global village. On his new album «Atlas», he reflects on his own journeys around the world
with a new sextet that connects his classical and jazz roots with ancient musical traditions. The ensemble features Syria-born, Berlin-based oud player Wassim Mukdad, duduk player Ertan Tekin who brings traditional Armenian and Kurdish music, Israeli jazz pianist Eyal Lovett, Ukrainian folk singer Ganna Gryniva and Romanian viola player Marius Ungureanu.
Knudsen composed nine new pieces in dialogue with the ensemble He wanted to allow the rich musical traditions to be expressed and at the same time challenge the boundaries of tradition and create new directions in the borderland between modern and ancient, Middle Eastern and European, composed and improvised. The atmosphere of «Atlas»’ new compositions is thoughtful, often melancholic, clearly avoiding common ecstatic climaxes that are an integral part of the Middle-Eastern musical legacies, and opting for precise and reserved, well-crafted arrangements, as if the whole world is seen through the dark and quite gloomy Nordic spectrum.
The opening piece, «Chorzow», after the Polish city, set the dark spirit of «Atlas». The following «Tripoli», after the Lebanese town, attempts to alternate cautiously between the mournful and joyful, and only «Buenos Aires» and later «Galway» and «Tiznit», after the Morrocan town and with Knudsen copying the sound of the Morrocan Guembri, introduce a gentle, sensual aroma to the ensemble reserved dynamics. «Vilnius» is a mysterious and lyrical ballad while «Masada» and «Kangerlussuaq», after the Greenlandish town, cement the melancholic yet dramatic atmosphere of the album. The last piece, «Arden», after the Danish town where Knudsen grew up, distills the Nordic melancholic veins through faraway musical traditions.
Ganna Gryniva (v), Ertan Tekin (duduk, zurna), Marius Ungureanu (viola, v), Wassim Mukdad (oud), Eyal Lovett (p), Kenneth Dahl Knudsen (b)