The aptly-titled Relationships describes best the debut release of Danish drummer Thomas Albaek Jakobsen's quintet Flux. It is all about the relationships between the musicians, their emphatic interplay, how they inspire each other and the way comprising pieces are weaved together to form a distinctive whole.
Jakobsen's well-crafted compositions have a strong melodic approach but with enough suggestive segments that invite the Flux members to expand and to draw these compositions to more open, poetic ends. The instrumentation that Jakobsen chose for this quintet tends to emphasize a reserved chamber jazz sound, rich with shifting colors and moods.
This cycle of compositions feature Jakobsen's range as a composer, wrapped with a "Prolgue" and "Epilogue" that summarize the essence of his main compositional elements. "Blade-ish" develops in a captivating way as saxophonist Ole Visby, guitarist Michael Møller Porsborg and pianist Johan Aaen interpret the melodic content as one tight unit, while Jakobsen's poignant drumming sketches the musical envelope. "A New Beginning" and "Sunday Morning in Late Winter" have dramatic narratives, its tension is built slowly and both shift between energetic, playful parts to darker, enigmatic segments. The duo of Jakobsen and Visby on clarinet on "Inception" begins with subtle, melodic interaction, gains power and momentum as the two improvise and this heated improvisation stimulate the whole quintet as it returns to the original theme. "Largo" is simply an arresting, cinematic chamber jazz composition. The post-bop compositions "Asjahaa" and "Chicago" are rooted in the American jazz legacy, structured around strong rhythmic elements, accentuated by Jakobsen and bassist Kenneth Dahl Knudsen, but both are characterized with a lighter, less urgent, European spirit.
A promising debut.
Track Listing: Prologue; Blade-ish; A New Beginning; Inception (part I); Largo (part II); Asjahaa; Chicago; Sunday Morning in Late Winter; Epilogue.
Personnel: Ole Visby: tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet; Michael Møller Porsborg: guitar; Johan Aaen: piano; Kenneth Dahl Knudsen: bass; Thomas Albæk Jakobsen: drums.