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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra - Family (We Jazz, 2023)

By Ferruccio Martinotti

Could you figure out, in A.D. 2023, something more reckless than having a jazz big band? Sorry? Ah ok, having a record store, sure. Luckily for us, around, there is someone so brave and visionary to do that, he comes from Norway and his name is Gard Nilssen. Born in 1983 in a family of drummers, and a drummer himself, he has played beside the likes of Frisell, Metheny, Redman and the top notch of Scandinavian musicians, finalizing a score of more than 70 records along with different bands (SpaceMonkey, Bushman’s Revenge, among the others. His past project Puma in our humble opinion deserves a peculiar mention) and if you are familiar with the blog, his Acoustic Unity should be pretty known to your ears. 

Fresh from pressing, here we have Family, a new chapter of the adventure as band leader of the Supersonic Orchestra, a monster ensemble of 7 saxophones, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets, 3 double basses, 3 drums, recorded live in Den Haag, Netherlands, at Mondriaan Jazz Festival, blasting 8 tracks originally composed by  Nilssen, along with his faithful saxophonist, bass clarinetist Andrè Roligheten. It could sound pretty banal but we don’t have any difficulties to admit that, just before the music started, the synapses were (un)consciously ready to set as paradigms the Fire!Orchestra on one side and Paal-Nilssen Circus on the other. As said: banal, too banal. In fact, while you are ready to be swept away by a sonic avalanche, as soon as the music flows, a sense of warmth, even when the “angles” becoming sharper, is triggered by the smooth, sheer amalgam among the musicians but what’s really mindblowing is that you hear, you clearly feel that the band got the swing, yes dear reader, modern, free, acuminate but unmistakably BIG BAND SWING. Looking forward to catch the Supersonics live can hardly be overstated. 


The Supersonic Orchestra is:

Andrè Rolighten tenor sax, bass saxophone, bass clarinet, percussion
EirikHegdal sopranino sax, C-melody sax, Bb clarinet, percussion
Per “Texas” Johansson tenor sax, baritone saxophone, contrabass clarinet; Bb clarinet, percussion
Kjetil Moster tenor sax,baritone saxophone, Bb clarinet, percussion
Mette Rasmussen alto sax, percussion
Maciej Obara alto sax, percussion
Signe Emmeluth alto sax, percussion
Thomas Johansson trumpet, percussion
Goran Kajfes trumpet, percussion
Erik Johannesen trombone, percussion
Guro Kvale trombone, percussion
Petter Eldh double bass, percussion
Ole Morten Vagan double bass, percussion
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten double bass, percussion
HakonMjaset Johansen drums, percussion
Hans Hulbaekmo drums, percussion
Gard Nilssen drums, percussion