Ape Club is a new Norwegian quartet that has been operating since 2009 and plays jazz at the crossroads of be-bop and early free jazz of the late fifties and early sixties. Its debut album blends inspirations of such great composers as Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman and Charles Mingus, spiced with modern pop song structures, folksy melodies and modern manners of improvisations.
The quartet leader, bassist Julius Lind, wrapped the band tunes within catchy, melodic and energetic envelopes that emphasizes the strong personalities of his colleagues, their perceptive knowledge of jazz legacy and joyful spirit. Other members of the quartet are experienced musicians from the fertile Norwegian jazz scene. Trombonist Øyvind Brække is known for his collaboration with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, who performed his remarkable Migrations (MNJ, 2011), and with The Source. Drummer Erik Nylander leads his own Orkester, member of the groups Kobert, who also collaborated with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (MNJ, 2009), and Magic Pocket and frequent collaborator with violinist Ola Kvernberg. Saxophonist Kasper Værnes leads his own quartet and quintet.
Lind and Nylander form a massive, propulsive rhythm section that keeps pushing the powerful melodic articulations of Værnes and Brække. This tight combination offers varied approaches from the sophisticated chord progression and unison parts à la John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" in "Death of Bass," the adoption of Coleman harmolodics system on "Calvados," "Underground" and "Circus," including a concious tribute to John Zorn's klezmer-tinged Masada quartet that also followed Coleman legacy, the Mingus-like "The Stranger" with its sudden shifts of rhythms and themes and the Monk-ish ballad "Monkey Business."
The music of Ape Club is rooted in one of the glorious eras of jazz, but it has a modern, open and personal sound signature. The members of this quartet do not attempt to follow in the footprints of jazz formative composers to suggest their independent and perceptive perspectives of jazz as a vivid and vital art.
Track Listing: Black Smoke; Death of a Bass; Calvados; Woods; The Stranger; Underground; Monkey Business; Circus.
Personnel: Kasper Værnes: saxophone; Øyvind Brække: trombone; Julius Lind: double bass; Erik Nylander: drums.
Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Recorda Records