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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Deciders - We Travel The Airwaves (Jazzland, 2013) ****

With a title somewhat inspired by Sun Ra, Norwegian bass player Ole Morten Vågan assembles a band of some of Northern Europe's most creative musicians, with Rudi Mahall on bass clarinet, Axel Dörner on trumpet, Fredrik Ljungkvist on tenor and clarinet, and Jon Fält on drums, for a performance of his own compositions, and as he describes in the video below, often built up around nothing more than a theme, snippets of composed sequences, musical ideas and thoughts jotted down when travelling, assembled and structured and the starting phase for these excellent improvisers to be used as a springboard for expansion, interaction, dialogue and collision or maybe collusion too.

This is jazz "pur sang", with musicians fully at ease with the material, enjoying their individual voices of freedom and expression to be shared with like-minded and like-talented artists to bring something that is more than the sum of its parts, a joint instant co-creation of boppish moments full of boisterious romp or quieter abstract introspections, yet always kept together by a common feeling of musical joy, cemented by Ole Morten Vågan's great themes.

So unlike Sun Ra, this band is not 'traveling the spaceways', but staying closer to home, more down to earth, no less exuberant, yet within the confines of humanity, and with only simple acoustics as travel means.

If you like bands like "Motif", "Die Enttäuschung", "Peeping Tom" - not surprisingly bands with some of the same musicians, and not surprisingly bands that build on jazz heritage to propulse them into modern artistic sensitivities - you will also like The Deciders.