This is the third post in which I recall some of the music I’ve enjoyed in 2015 but never got round to writing about. This one is dedicated (with two exceptions) to music recorded on the record label that is, for me, indispensable – ECM. There’s a lot of jazz, examples of the gift of ECM’s guiding spirit Manfred Eicher for bringing together musicians from different contexts to create wonderful sounds, and some of the contemporary music released on the ECM New Series label. Continue reading “The music in my head (part 3): jazz and beyond”
To Manchester tonight to see the Mathias Eick Quartet at RNCM. Despite being up at 4:30 on a Norwegian morning to fly to Manchester for this, the opening gig of their tour, the Quartet were in fine fettle. Mathias was evidently surprised by the size of the turnout – but the stir surrounding his first album for ECM as leader should explain it. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who wasn’t averse to adding complex beats on a pair of drums, and at one point joining Andreas Ulvo at the grand piano to play the upper register – and keyboards – while Ulvo played the lower register.
The Quartet performed most of the album, The Door, as well as additional songs, including one composed at a recording session in Finland. Mathias commented on the sparse, utilitarian nature of the song titles, saying they simply reflected the time or place where they were composed. Despite critics commenting on the metaphorical aptness of the The Door as a title for the album (‘the door to my inner self’, etc), Mathias said it was just that when he’d finished composing the title song, what he was looking at was – the door. Brought back for a second encore Mathias played a superb, slowed-down solo ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’.
Could this band be the new E.S.T.?
Mathias Eick trumpet
Andreas Ulvo piano
Audun Erlien bass
Rune Arnesen drums
‘With his warm tane, selfless allegiance ta the collective, and personal nexus of lyrical form and freedom, Eick is the most important trumpeter ta emerge from the Scandinavian scene since Henriksen and Molvr.’
John Kelman, All About Jazz
‘It’s rare to hear instrumental music that is almost poetic in its construction. Trumpeter Mathias Eick has a sound that gently beckons and, like softly spoken conversation, you instinctively lean forward to catch every gesture’.
Stuart Nicholson, Observer Music Monthly
Norway continues to astonish the world with its amazing contribution to music of all genres, with Mathias Eick, aged 28, being one of the latest talents to emerge from the burgeoning Norwegian jazz scene. He joins an already glittering galaxy of compatriots known for their outstanding musicianship and creativity. Names such as Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, Terje Rypdal, Awe Henriksen, Nils Petter Molvaer and Tord Gustavsen spring to mind, to name but a few.
But it is Eick’s particular achievements and sound that resulted in him receiving the International Jazz Award for New Talent in 2007. He has also been nominated for the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy for his album The Door. Eick is a multi-instrumentalist. His first instrument is trumpet but he also plays double bass, vibraphone, piano and guitar and – to use his own words, “anything needed”.
He has worked with many bands and a diversity of musicians from Chick Corea and Pat Metheny with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, to the Norwegian rock group Jaga Jazzist of which he was a co-founder and where his multi-instrumentalism has been very much a part of the band’s sound. Recently, he has been frontlining and touring world-wide with the highly acclaimed Manu Katche band, whilst at the other end of the scale he has been working with Finnish harpist/pianist/composer Iro Haarla and her stunningly beautiful quintet.
Although no newcomer to the prestigious ECM label, where he has worked with guitarist Jacob Young on two recordings, as well as with drummer Manu Katche and with Iro Haarla, it was in 2008 that Eick made his debut recording as a leader on The Door, an album which reveals not only an outstanding musician but also a gifted composer. His spacious, atmospheric, and beautifully lyrical tunes have an unpredictable shifting edge; this is interesting music which can unexpectedly challenge before finally returning the listener to an original melodic theme.
Mathias Eick cites Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown and Kenny Wheeler as influences, but his subtle, pure, and crystalline sound is distinctively and undeniably his own. Already a remarkably mature player, it has been noted by more than one critic that this young Norwegian is someone we will be hearing about much more in the future.
Mathias Eick at Northsea Jazz 2007
Frøy Aagre feat. Mathias Eick at Canal Street 08
Frøy Aagre- sax, Mathias Eick- trp, Andreas Ulvo-piano, Audun Ellingsen-bass, Freddy Wike-drums at Canal Street Jazz Festival, Norway Jul 27th 2008. The tune is called Factory, composed by Frøy Aagre.
Frøy Aagre feat. Mathias Eick at Canal Street 08
Frøy Aagre- sax, Mathias Eick- trp, Andreas Ulvo-piano, Audun Ellingsen-bass, Freddy Wike-drums at Canal Street Jazz Festival, Norway Jul 27th 2008. The tune is called Long Distance, composed by Frøy Aagre.