Marius Neset
Suite for the Seven Mountains
Calibrated **** RECOMMENDED
Anyone who’s heard Marius Neset in the flesh will know just how powerful and unforgettable the Norwegian saxophonist is. A natural and worthy successor to Jan Garbarek, a member of the next jazz generation on from Tore Brunborg who Garbarek somehow passed the baton on to, it’s two years since Neset released Golden Xplosion when Neset more or less ripped up the rule book of European jazz in one fell swoop. Earlier this year Neset followed up with Birds another fine, more ambitious album in a way, released by Cardiff indie Edition, and now followers of Neset’s career will have a chance to trace the very beginnings of this remarkable player’s journey and an insight into Birds with the reissue of his debut, 2008’s Suite For The Seven Mountains. We find Neset here in the company of his People Are Machines band plus a string quartet. The Bergen-born player composed all the music, a paean to the geography of his home city, and wrote the string arrangements for this sometimes highly combustible yet spiritual and tender seven-part suite. Phronesis drummer Anton Eger conducted the strings on the album actually recorded in Denmark where Neset studied in the process falling under the influence of Django Bates when Bates was a professor at the Rhythmic Conservatory in the Danish capital and who became a big champion of Neset's. The excellent pianist is Magnus Hjorth, with Eger on drums and Petter Eldh (a member of Bates’ Belovèd trio) on bass. It’s beautifully recorded and bursting full of ideas. Neset has a very big impulsive sound and yet he specialises in control and cathartic release, with a tenderness and maturity that is quite staggering at times. If you enjoyed Birds you will have to hear Suite for the Seven Mountains to complete the picture. Track 'V1' with the string quartet is quite beautiful, and just one of the delights here. MB