RYMDEN, Reflections and Odysseys (Jazzland, 2019)
PERSONNEL: Bugge Wesseltoft (piano, keyboards); Dan Berglund (bass); Magnus Öström (drums, percussion)
- Rymden — Reflections
- Rymden — The Odyssey
- The Peacemaker
- The Lugubrious Youth Of Lucky Luke
- The Celestial Dog and the Funeral Ship
- Råk — The Abyss
From Oslo, Norway and Sweden comes Rymden, a fascinating group of European jazz musicians making the most of the link between early electric Miles Davis (around the time of In a Silent Way) and the modern electronic aesthetic of FutureJazz. Led by pianist Bugge Wesseloft, this trio finds power in subtlety and tempered aggression, making the most of its sound to carve out a unique voice within the genre.
Wesseloft plays with a powerful left hand, which nicely sets up the melodic runs of his right. He is also capable of playing dissonant sounding chords and using his electric piano as means of breaking free from predictability. Dan Berglund’s bass serves as a perfect root from which the melodies grow, while the drumming of Magnus Ölström wavers between tender and tumultuous.
The band establishes itself quickly with “Rymden — The Odyssey,” a tune that could easily have come from Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams while they played with Miles in the late ’60s. The groove is firm, the bass line is no-nonsense and the piano carries the rest of the day in perfect simpatico. The rest of the album carries the audience on an emotional, but not overwhelming ride of lush soundscapes, strong melodies, and smooth harmonies. Ölström brings his skills to for on “Råk — The Abyss” before the rest of the band tears into the song’s main section. “Homegrown,” the album’s finale, brings it all home.
Rymden has found a sound that is jazz without the regimentation of the blues or other “traditional” forms to restrain them. They are a fine addition to the voices of the new century.
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