Saturday, September 3, 2011

Admiral Awesome

Admiral Awesome (group)
Admiral Awesome (Gateway Music; 2011)
Jacob Danielson (sax)
Christian Windfeld (drums)
Thomas Sejthen (bass)
Fredrik Lungkvist (sax)

Admiral Awesome are a young new Danish trio whose work is fresh and cracking with energy. Their self-titled debut is aided by legendary saxophonist, Fredrik Lungkvist of the group Atomic. As with Bobo Stenson's work with the young Swedish trio Plunge, Lungkvist gives a hard, grittier edge that challenges the group to reach new heights with each track.

In terms of experience, Admiral Awesome is not new. Each member has considerable work with artists such as Arve Henriksen, Fuzz n' Us, and Jakob Bro in addition to individual efforts. So there is no shortage of skill and creativity within this group. Admiral Awesome grew out of a number sessions and live performances over the last year or so. And the fruit of those experiments has resulted in a exciting and all around triumphant debut, consisting of live and studio material.

While your first thought might be the bombastic brass that sits on top of the melodies--this is more than just your usual free jazz session. The quartet quietly introduces itself on "LSB Vals" with a heavy downbeat from Windfeld just before the rest of the group come soaring in. Eventually the piece steams towards a jubilant cacophony only to return gently to its organic beginnings. "Different Directions" is a fierce little number with a jumpin' bebop touch that Charlie Parker would be proud of. The improvised moments are fun and still keep within a linear compositional structure. Something even the uninitiated to free jazz might still be able grasp hold of and enjoy.

"Stockholm Wilderness" has elements of spy-jazz, improvisation and what feels like a little tribute to Dizzy Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" mixed in. There is a beauty duel between Danielsen and Lungkvist makes this one of my favourite cuts on the album. The stop/start pace and electricity of the performances here from the entire quartet are killer. "Piratsangen" begins in Brotzmann-esque style with powerful blustery notes from Danielsen. His improvised notes take listener or rocky ride that worth all the eight minutes. As the rest of the group slow move into focus the tune becomes more a bluesy ballad. It's haunting and beauty and closes with band singing farewell to a live audience. And that's a perfect way to end the album.

Admiral Awesome is one of those records I assure you will sneak up on you as the year continues. It is currently available on the Admiral Awesome website and will be released widely later in the year. This is an excellent debut and exciting on multiple levels. It's creative, well balanced and fun between the improvised lines. A great listen. Enjoy...

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