Rapidly Revolving Around an Axis
dEN K002

More along the line of an experiment than a group proposition, this short CD is a souvenir of a mini-tour and session featuring veteran Berlin-based reedist Tobias Delius and two upcoming Norwegian improvisers: bassist Adrian Fiskum Myhr and trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø.

Known for his membership in the ICP Orchestra, alto saxophonist and clarinetist Delius leads his own small bands and collaborated with a variety of other players internationally with partners varying from cellist Tristan Honsinger to drummer Dylan van der Schyff. Fiskum Myhr who has played with stylists as varied as Nana Vasconcelos and Michel Doneda; and Munkeby Nørstebø who is part of the Lana trio with pianist Kjetil Jerve and drummer Andreas Wildhagen plus other groups; are Oslo players determined to expand their musical horizons. Whirl is obvious part of this desire. But while the timbres from Delius’ two instruments plus the Norwegians’ individual ones swirl together as if whirled by a mix-master’s blades, the hoped-for gelling really doesn’t materialize.

With the program divided among nine racks during only 33 minutes, the effect is rather like individual classroom show-and-tell rather than a defining performance. Obviously comfortable with one another’s strategies, Myhr and Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø expand familiar duo tropes throughout. The bassist can slap woody tones or expose intricate clicking fingering as needed; while the trombonist’s yawning plunger work adds rumbling tones when prescribed. In an equivalent fashion, Delius’ phrasing from strident clarinet or rugged tenor saxophone are completely his own. Like marathoners on adjoining tracks, each player’s exertion is imposing, but the results are often parallel improvising rather than group think.

In terms of what could have been accomplished, “Pivot” and “Pirouette” are the best examples. On the first the slurring ‘bone exposition and slapped woody bass line are given additional strength when doubled by abrasive clarinet line; and on the later some triple velocity from all concerned is developed among barking trombone sounds, Aylerian slurring from Delius’ and cross pulsed string splaying. But even here the coordination is fleeting.

Perhaps a reunion would produce more memorable work; or perhaps the Oslo musicians should try interacting with even more out-of-town stylists. As it stands, Rapidly Revolving Around an Axis provides more rapid revolving than a mutually supportive axis.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Flurry 2. Circle 3. Pivot 4. Pirouette 5. Rotasjon 6. Birl 7. Orbit 8. Revolving rapidly around an axis 9. Sweep

Personnel: Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (trombone); Tobias Delius (tenor saxophone and clarinet) and Adrian Fiskum Myhr (bass)