Jon Balke w/Oslo 13: Nonsentration (ECM 1445)


Jon Balke
Oslo 13

Per Jørgensen trumpet
Nils Petter Molvær trumpet
Torbjørn Sunde trombone
Morten Halle alto saxophone
Tore Brunborg tenor saxophone
Arne Frang tenor saxophone
Audun Kleive drums
Jon Christensen drums, percussion
Finn Sletten percussion
Miki N´Doye percussion
Jon Balke keyboards
Recorded September 1990 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Jon Balke

With the number of musicians assembled on Arild Andersen band veteran Jon Balke’s first ECM album as leader, one might expect a big sound. What we get is a subtle and artfully arranged set of 10 originals. Take “Circling The Square,” for example, an easy album highpoint, which with quiet percussion and horns lays down a runway for trumpeter Per Jørgensen’s electronically enhanced flight. Other joyful landing strips can be found in “Stop” (which features some splashes of engagement from Balke at last and superb tenor work from Tore Brunborg) and “Nord.” The album begins in a solemn mood, however, and seems to never to let go of those darker threads no matter how energetic the playing gets. These tender underpinnings are given more overt exposure in tunes like the montuno-flavored “Blic” and the smooth outro that is “Construction Stop.”

One can hardly pass a comb through this session without singling out “The Laws Of Freedom.” With a minimal and open sense of play from Balke over the subtlest of drones one can imagine, this breathtaking journey into a piano’s beating heart turns reverberation into cloud and spirit, and presses between them footsteps of air. One of the most beautiful tracks in the entire ECM catalogue and reason enough to own this album.

Although not an entirely consistent effort, behind the clever title of Nonsentration lies an honest set, one to put on in the background and listen to closely by turns.

<< Garbarek/Vitous/Erskine: StAR (ECM 1444)
>> Tamia/Pierre Favre: Solitudes (ECM 1446)

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