Blue sky, by the Norwegian jazz quartet The Core, has been selected as one of the ten best albums of the year by the influential magazine Jazzwise.
The Core was formed back in 1999, when the four musicians fell musically in love whilst being enrolled at the jazz academy Trondheim. Their album debut, Visions, was met with resounding applause upon its release in 2004, manifesting, was the byword, the sheer excellence of the new generation of Norwegian jazz musicians.
First of all The Core is a truly explosive jazz unit, not least live, and their inspiration is the vital and energetic jazz of the sixties and such ‘60s energy players as Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler and John Coltrane. Fiery and energetic, The Core’s performance fuses acoustic modal jazz with contemporary grooves rooted in funk and rock.
Their live shows have been described as infused with: “Energy, generosity and an unstoppable youthfulness giving the impression that each concert could be the last."
Saxophonist Kjetil Møster, the winner of the 2006 IJFO Annual International Award for New Talent, stands forth as the maestro – “possibly the finest Norwegian sazophone player since Garbarek”- while most of the tunes are original compositions by drummer Espen Aalberg. They are joined by by Erlend Skomsvoll on piano, Steinar Raknes on bass. (Blue sky also features a special guest, Nils Olav Johansen from farmers market).
All About jazz wrote about Blue sky that it: “features a rock-edged, avant-acoustic sound that manages, despite the busyness, to leave breath and space. Playing with fiery finesse, the group easily navigates the rhythmic subtleties of Aalberg’s tunes: “Cavemans Blues” is an incessant eleven-beat cycle, “Shoot the Evil Dog” has odd-length bars phrased in three, and “Indian Song” rolls along like a seven-spoked wheel with a flat spot on the rim. Maestro Møster evinces a solid tone over the range of his (s)axes, particularly in the altissimo register, where his overblown lines, laced with frenzied filigree, smolder with controlled intensity. Slettevoll plays with great chops, allowing his phrasing to loosen up around the edges without losing feel; Johansen adds a tonal palette of open-string resonance, clustered chords, slow-echoed tremolos, and rapid baroque arpeggios; and Raknes contributes a sensitive solo coda to his composition “Illiman Dance.”
Jazzwise wrote: “They have the ability to blow the minds of young audiences and really turn them on to jazz ( ). Their dynamic brand of jazz is completely beyond the iPod experience, and in-person they have a stage presence that can be electric.”
Now Jazzwise has selected Blue Sky the seventh best album of the year. Here’s the full list:
1. Empirical: Empirical (Destin-e)
2. Maria Schneider: Sky Blue (ArtistShare)
3. EST: Live in Hamburg (ACT)
4. Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage (Emarcy)
5. Robert Wyatt: Comicopera (Domino)
6. Wynton Marsalis: From the Plantation to the Penitentiary ( Blue Note)
7. The Core: Blue sky (Jazzaway)
8. Gwilum Simcock: Perception (Basho)
9. Viljay Iver / Rudresh Mahantappa: Raw materials (Pi)
10. Gilad Atzmon: Refuge (Enja)