As a former professional player myself, I shun labels. The primary function of a label or sub genre when it comes to jazz or any improvisational based music is to simple satisfy the desires of the record company and make the product easier to find for the consumer. I can accept that.
http://www.criticaljazz.com/ has gone global and been same for a significant period of time. Asgeir Aaroen contacted me and asked I consider Danza de Andalucia for possible review. Aaroen is a magnificent guitarist and his primary partner on this release is Bjarte Mo who is a violinist from an area not exactly on the map for this type of recording. In a brief letter Aaroen explained they are artists searching for their own style and while what is stereotypically referred to as "European Jazz" is by some Nordic cultural influence slightly stark by the improvisational music we call jazz here in the United States, Asgeir & Mo absolutely delight with their own hybrid of flamenco, Latin, classical and east European music. Their is an organic pulse here, a sonic heartbeat of fire and creativity and without going into an overly long history lesson there is a lyrical cohesion from the myriad of influences from which they draw their creative prowess.
With both original compositions and stellar arrangements by Aaroen, Danza de Andalucia creates a cultural sonic heartbeat, a hybrid that blends at the very least three distinctive cultural influences into one cultural smorgasbord from which you may sample. Violinist Bjarte Mo plays with fire and passion and when need be the subtle refinement of the most experienced of accompanists. Asgeir Aaroen has that chameleon like effect on guitar by changing colors and shadings with an ease and flow that makes the release have an ebb and flow that is inspiring. There are special guests including Saska Cvijanovic who leans more towards the classical. Gabriel Chicaiza is a Latin percussionist from Columbia and Magnus Rod Haugland is more of a traditional jazz person. Musical frames of reference are somewhat dangerous in the hands of amateurs but for those of us here in the west with just the slightest taste for ECM would find this recording equal in quality, variety and substance.
One of the finer tracks is the emotionally charged Israeli-flavored "Night In Netanya" . Their is one vocal track which is the closing "Summer Song" and the vocals are sublime. There is no language barrier here. There is but one language - music and the end result is a sublime recording.
Organic but with a deep rooted passion and lyrical expression Asgeir & Mo forge their own path in creating one of the finest European hybrids based on vitality and the passion for their own music.
A distinctive release deserving of wide spread recognition.
A sublime recording.
Available on Amazon and itunes and spotify....