So Many Roads
Danish born bassist, composer and leader Anne Mette Iversen leads Double Life which is comprised of her own Quintet comprised of John Ellis on saxophone, Peter Dahlgren on trombone; Danny Grissett on piano and Otis Brown III on drums; and 4Corners, a string quartet comprised of Tine Rudloff on violin; Sarah McClelland on violin; Anne Soren on viola; and Mats Larsson on cello.
In her brief notes, she states she wants to have the music speak for itself: "Its conception and realisation has been a long journey. Along the road I had many ideas about how to present it to you: which story to tell you, which words to describe it with and which pictures to paint in your head. In the end, I rejected them all to let the music speak for itself, and, hopefully, to leave space for it to become your own personal journey.” In line with the above, she has eschewed titles for the parts of her recording and simply refers to them as Chapters. For this recording, we have a solo bass prologue followed for four chapters and then a brief epilogue.
Iversen’s bass solo enables her to provide an underlying motif that the strings, her and Ellis first state with the strings spotlighted with Ellis’ soprano sax providing a counterpoint to them which has the full ensemble restating the theme before Dahlgren takes lead on the remainder of the first chapter backed by the quintet with the strings providing additional musical shading on a performance with a pastoral feel. It it illustrative of Iversen’s adeptness at integrating strings into a swinging jazz performance and not simply being a sweet background.
The strings help set the transition to the second chapter that opens with very invigorating playing by Grissett accompanied by Iversen’s firm bass and Brown’s driving drumming before the horns enter. Ellis takes a fiery solo which is followed by the gruffer sound of Dahlgren on trombone. If the first chapter is a pastoral stroll down a rural roadway, Chapter two takes us to a busy interstate with the strings accenting the hard bop including Brown’s drum solo. After Brown’s solo, the music segues into an interlude from the string quartet before the entire ensemble rides this piece out with the voicing of Dahlgren and the strings prominent.
Chapter Three opens in a languid vein with the strings and Dahlgren up front while Brown’s light touch enhances the mood. Ellis takes a lovely solo exhibiting his marvelous tone, followed by Iversen taking a solo with the strings, especially cellist Larsson, providing counterpoint, leading to a lovely solo trombone segment. The tempo rackets up with the strings adding to the heat with spirited interaction among themselves and the quintet.
This is an engaging recording that illustrates Iversen’s adroit blending of the string quintet with a jazz ensemble for varied, and captivating, recording.
I received my review copy from a publicist. Here is the Anne Mette Iversen Quintet in performance.