CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

AmazonUK   AmazonUS


In-House Science

ECM 671 6897



  1. Mira

  2. Science

  3. Venice

  4. North Of The North Wind

  5. Blussy

  6. In-House

    Arild Andersen - Double bass

    Paolo Vinaccia - Drums

    Tommy Smith - Tenor sax

    Since his emergence in the mid-1960s when, for instance, he was Jan Garbarek's bassist of choice for several years, Norwegian composer and musician Arild Andersen has risen to a position of pre-eminence among double bass players on the European jazz scene. Now in his early 70s, Andersen has had a long association with ECM, having recorded thirteen albums as a leader for that label alone. He is in familiar company here, in the Italian drummer Paolo Vinaccia and the Scottish saxophonist, Tommy Smith. This is the third ECM outing for the trio who were previously to be heard on Live At Belleville (2008) and Mira (2014). In addition, Andersen made a memorable disc in 2012, with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (of which Tommy Smith is leader), entitled Celebration. This new album is another concert recording, this time in Bad Ischl, Austria. All the compositions are by Andersen, a couple of them (Mira and Blussy) having appeared previously on the studio recorded disc, Mira.

    At least half the tracks in this new release are outstanding. I rated Blussy most highly. The earlier version lasted just over six minutes. This one runs to nine and is excellent on every front. It is distinctly funky and is notable for a barnstorming performance from Smith on tenor and resolutely nimble playing from Andersen. The consistently swinging nature of the piece receives powerful impetus from drummer Vinaccia. On the atmospheric North Of The North Wind, Andersen brings to bear his skill with bow and pizzicato lines alike. Some of the effects created are nothing short of eerie, yet evoke a deep sense of spaciousness. Tommy Smith is a fervent, emotive contributor to the overall success of the number. Judging from the enthusiastic response of the audience, this one really connected. The other standout track was the aforementioned Mira, again lengthier than the 2014 version by almost three minutes. The lovely lilting theme is complemented by the richness of Andersen on bass and the lush sound of Smith's tenor which subsequently becomes more oblique and impassioned. At points like these, Smith is most reminiscent of Jan Garbarek, never a bad thing.

    Vinaccia is an ideal collaborator throughout but to hear him really let rip, the listener should turn to the pacey In-House, which shares with the energetic Venice a headlong quality. On In-House, this exciting drummer delivers a typically creative solo. For me, Venice appealed least of the music on offer, though those looking for an urgent and abrasive Smith will not be disappointed. Science is the longest track on the album, running to just over eleven minutes. It's an interesting, if helter-skelter mixture particularly in the contrasting styles unveiled by Smith.

    Arild Andersen continues to justify his place in the top rank of bass players internationally, on the evidence of this CD. His superb technique and versatility enables him to deliver a masterclass here. Tommy Smith remains one of the finest talents of his generation. Paolo Vinaccia is an empathetic musician who would grace any trio. Together, they've made another fine disc, further stimulated by the context of live performance.

    James Poore


Return to Index