Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jesper Zeuthen: Plus

Jesper Zeuthen (sax)
Plus (Barefoot Records; 2012)
Adam Pultz Melbye (bass)
Kasper Tranberg (trumpet)
Henrik Pultz Melbye (sax)
Thomas Praestegaard (drums)
Jens Kristian Bang (trombone)
Kristian Tangvik (tuba)

Discovering Jesper Zeuthen late last year was a welcomed experience. While he has been on the European scene for years, I had only heard on his material as leader until recently. His last releases with his trio and now Plus have been an artist revitalized and discovering a new voice and direction. The self-titled debut album and its follow-up live album seems to have been only building blocks to what has arrived now from the larger sextet.

Simply titled, Plus opens with the raucous "Ti Ar Og To Dage" which feels like a cross between the Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler leading the charge in a wall of avant garde bliss - New Orleans style. It's fun and adventurous with various moving parts, including Zeuthen's revolving sax and the bellowing march of Tangvik's tuba. "Plus" has a rural, almost folk-ish quality that moves along like a pictorial journal through the countryside.

"Den Navniose" with its subtle marching drums just underneath the horns is a commanding mid-tempo piece that this pleasant and intense all at once. It builds into a number of complex changes as the piece moves forward and Zeuthen makes it feel cinematic as you head towards the end. "Zig Maj" and "Merit" both feature the entire sextet in funky form while Zeuthen sounds fresh and commanding, with a lot multiple textural lines. Both pieces are fully effected with bold patterns and rhythms by Melbye, Bang and Tangvik. Enjoyable and refreshing with a lot of energy.

Plus is a stronger and a very well focused project - showing that Zeuthen is feeling more comfortable with his band and his ever growing book of compositions. This is big music with wide eyed direction. Plus is another excellent outing for Jesper Zeuthen. You should seeks this out.

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