Monday, May 7, 2012

Niels Lyhne Lokkegaard: Vesper

Niels Lyhne Lokkegaard (sax)
Vesper (Hiatus; 2012)
Jakob Bro (guitar)
Ole Visby (clarinet)
Birgit Bogh Sonderiis (clarinet)
Mette Alro Stoktoft (clarinet)
Jakob Buchanan (flugelhorn)
Marilyn Mazur (percussion)

Niels Lyhne Lokkegaard has matured with each record. His style has always been dense and emotional but it has grown deeper and more atmospheric with each release.

On his fourth album, Vesper, Niels Lyhne Lokkegaard has created a grand and ambitious work that simply overshadows anything else he's done to date. It's a massive achievement--brilliantly written and performed.

The Danish saxophonist sets the tone for that on the title track with a suite that is dark, ethereal and arching. "Vesper I-IV" contains some lovely lyrical patterns. Lokkegaard places special focus on the wind instruments to emphasize the harmony. Jakob Bro's guitar provides the sonic sculpture that delivers the gentle impact throughout the the suite. Buchanan and Bro share an expansive conversation on the final movement  - haunting and beautiful.

Lokkegaard utilizes space and tempo on "The Lover," a ballad that is as poetic as it is cinematic. Mazur illustrates her unique brilliance on "Alogl I-II." Her brushes and percussion are percolating and tantalizing. Lokkegaard creates a lush atmosphere that reminded me of recent work by Stanko or Rava.

Vesper is Niels Lyhne Lokkegaard most dynamic statement yet. It's beautiful like a clear night sky and shows the blossoming of a strong composer and musician. Vesper will be one of our favourite albums of 2012. Highly Recommended.

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