I got this jazz saxophonist’s album Rites years ago, so I was glad to finally see him perform with his group. Some say his playing is evocative of vast snow-covered plains, but I think they just say that because he comes from Norway.
Most of their pieces were build from soundscapes made by the four players, with a healthy dose of the extended solos you’d expect from a jazz group. Frequently, during a solo, the other players would chat to each other or wander offstage for a few minutes. But always the flow of the piece remained unbroken.
The percussionist, Marilyn Mazur really stood out – her rack of instruments looked like a huge version of one of those baby’s toys strung across a playpen, and she did seem to have a lot of fun. She was the only one of the four to smile much, and she definitely had more zip, vim and vigour than the other three all put together.
Eberhard Weber, on his customised six-string fretless bass, was also impressive. His bass was wired up with effects and samplers so that he was able to play several bass parts simultaneously. I think he had a lot of the audience wondering, “how did he do that?” Amazing stuff – I would happily listen to two hours of just him playing.
I liked the variety of the music too. Some pieces were pretty dreamy, and some were stompin’, showing the African influence in a lot of their music. And so good to be able to see them making the music as well as hear it.