Ingebrigt Håker Flaten New York Quartet – Now Is (2012)
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten is a bassist from Norway, and here is working with Americans Joe McPhee, Joe Morris and Nate Wooley in his New York Quartet.
This is an improvised free jazz album and is mostly enjoyable; a rich aural tapestry is woven through these pieces, which are all of a relatively short length, especially for the genre.
Pent is a lovely piece beginning with Flaten on a teetering walking bass line, almost like a tentative walk across a mountainous ridge. Indeed the sense of danger is increased as the horns come in like side winds that could topple him at any moment, and then the safety of the descent, accompanied by guitar as the horns abate, before finally reminding of their danger.
Another outstanding track is As If, which begins with an interplay between the bass and the trumpet, weaving together in a floating dance, increasing in intensity before finding respite in a steady bass rhythm and guitar solo.
In all, I find the album approachable and enjoyable, it may not be a good starting point for someone just discovering Jazz, but it has inventive texture and is constantly on the go, a very dynamic album.
However, I do have some criticism of the album, it all feels a bit loose, raw, and, at times, undirected. Also, there is no drummer; Flaten does do an amazing job in the rhythm section, but I fear that the absence of a drummer leads partly to this occasional lack of direction. It also has the effect that in some tracks (for example in Rangers), someone is tapping out a rhythm, which on the recording, I find highly distracting.
Favourite tracks: As If, Pent, Giants
Spotify link: Ingebrigt Håker Flaten New York Quartet – Now Is