Racing a Butterfly
Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records
The Danish bassist-composer-bandleader Anne Mette Iversen has established herself as one of international jazz's prominent bassists and composers. She moved to New York in 1998, where she flourished until moving to Berlin in 2012 to pursue other opportunities. She remains a member of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground (BJU), she continues to record for the BJU Records label. On her latest album, the bassist is joined by her longest-running group, with John Ellis (tenor saxophone), Peter Dahlgren (trombone), Danny Grissett (piano), and Otis Brown III (drums & cymbals).
In the brief liner notes, she explains that "the title track on this album was inspired by a literal race with a butterfly I had during a run one summer morning in Provence, France. Running along the lavender fields on a dirt road, while the temperature was quickly rising, a colorful butterfly came out of the wild flowers that grow on the roadside; having apparently decided to keep me company. We stayed side by side for a moment and then it started to play. It flew ahead, dropped back, caught up with me again, spun circles, twisted and turned in a kind of a dance. This went on for a surprising long while until the butterfly finally took off. It was the fun, the enjoyment, the playfulness and lightness that was so beautiful and which nature displayed so naturally, that made me feel that I really ought to celebrate those sides of life more than I have previously done in my music." In the manner of that experience, there is a playfulness permeating not only this track but the entire album.
This playfulness is evident on the opening "Triangular Waves," where Grissett, Ellis, and Brown are featured on a performance that grows out of the leader's catchy bass figure. Also noteworthy is the interplay between Ellis and Dahlgren here and throughout. There is an effervescent quality to the title track with the intriguing interaction between Ellis and Dahlgren, who introduce an especially charming and lyrical composition. There is also an exceptional Grissett solo here. Iversen solos to open up the first of the two parts of "Parallel Flying," the first part of which is performed andante while showcasing Dahlgren's wooly trombone. The tempo is kicked up quite a notch with Ellis and Grissett dazzling with their energetic soloing. This is simply a sampling of the superb performances on this recording by Iversen's Quartet + 1.
I received my review copy from a publicist. Here the Anna Mette Iversen Quartet + 1 are heard performing.