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Monday, June 03, 2019

CD Review: Mikkel Nordsø Quintet. - Out There


Mikkel  Nordsø (guitar); Thomas French (tenor sax); Ben Besiakov (keyboards); Anders Christensen (bass); Alvin Queen (drums).
(Review by Steve T)

Album opener   Take Off   begins with acoustic guitar in almost country blues mode before it settles into straightforward fusion, all Fender Rhodes, sax and semi-acoustic guitar. The title track follows like a close relative to Jimi Hendrix's   Star Spangled Banner   leading to a free jazz blow-out on sax with drums - or at least cymbals - underneath.

Nordsø cites Hendrix and John Coltrane as the major influences on the album and, while there is much of the intense fire and brimstone those two conjured, on first listen I heard an intersection between electric Miles and Frank Zappa's jazzier excursions.
I believe Miles and Zappa will become the Mozart and Beethoven of the late C20th (or perhaps Amadeus and Ludvig Van will become the Miles and Frank of the late C18th/early C19th). If I'm right, and albums like this further convince me I am, artists like Hendrix and Trane should do very well from this, as well as acts including Weather Report, Santana and John McLaughlin.

Hendrix and Trane were the convergent touch-papers that ignited McLaughlin, and his influence in particular seems all over these recordings, both the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Tony Williams Lifetime, particularly when an eerie organ sound, reminiscent of Larry Young in that band, emerges on track four  Rock Train.

Much of the sax playing is more later Miles, circa Kenny Garrett, and the juxtaposition between sax and guitar reinforces the connection with Zappa and McLaughlin rather than Hendrix.

If any of these artists are your thing, there should be plenty here to appeal though, as always nowadays, I don't know if people would seek this album out ahead of a thousand others, without them touring. That's not a negative statement about the music, which is great, but is just the way it seems to be right now, and it's hard to imagine what will happen to change it.  It's currently available.
Steve T

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