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(39:51; Is It Jazz? Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Goiserer Jodler / To Whom This May Concerne 10:47 2. I Usually Paint by Myself 5:10 3. Bergen Is the Prettiest In Blue 4:12 4. Moonshine Movement 7:08 5. When You Dream in Colours 12:34 LINE UP : Aksel Ovreaas Roed - saxophone Lyder Ovreaas Roed - trumpet, flugelhorn Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll - saxophone Andreas Hesselberg Hatzikiriakidis - trumpet Michael Terry Barnes - saxophpone, clarinet Isach Skeidsvoll - piano Sverre Sandness Saebo - bass Sigurd Steinkopf - drums
Prolusion. Norwegian band Aksel Roed's Other Aspects is the creative vehicle of up and coming saxophone player Aksel Roed, who I understand is a popular musician to bring in for live events as well as for studio work. Aksel Roed's Other Aspects is the first band where he is the band leader, and their debut album "Do You Dream In Colours?" was released on Norwegian label Is It Jazz? Records in February 2023.
Analysis. Given the label this album is released on, the answer is a qualified yes as to whether or not this is a jazz album. This is a case where there is no doubt at all about that fact, and that we are dealing with a band that has its foundation in a more traditional variety of the form too. Not that the music itself is extremely traditional, but the core elements of the material can be described in that manner, at least according to my opinion as a sometime only listener of jazz music. The impression I get is that Other Aspects operate out from a big band foundation, with an ensemble of musicians creating a big sound with wandering melody lines where a groove will be explored and often support one or more instruments that have been given the lead role for the occasion. On this album with Roed and his saxophone obviously getting the majority of the limelight in this particular context. You won't find any guitars on this album; the double bass is the only one in use, and a sticker with no keyboards on this album would have been proper and appropriate, at least if the piano is the good old fashioned acoustic instrument it sounds like it is. The other aspects explored on this occasion come in a couple of different forms. The most distinct is the inclusion of expressive instrument details and arrangements with more of an expressive and free form general orientation. Rather than dominating the entire album these additions are more limited in scope and length, with some sections featuring one or more expressive instrument details and more or less defined sections featuring a generally more expressive delivery form the majority of the musicians. These passages alternate with sequences that focus more on a traditional delivery, giving the album a nice ebb and flow effect in that regard. The other additional feature are parts where the big band and ensemble properties are toned down, and where the focus shifts to a few instruments only. The double bass and the piano are vital instruments for these sections, with some exquisite delicate percussion details most often present too, and as with the rest of this album we have both traditional and a bit more expressive runs through these more sparse landscapes too, with different instruments given a lead role in these sections. While I don't have the knowledge nor experience about jazz to have a very well founded opinion here, my impression is that this is a high quality production on just about all levels. The more melody and harmony oriented parts with what I'd describe as a traditional execution have the vibrant and charming vintage qualities I find enjoyable, while the expressive moments tend to shy away from the most dissonant and challenging escapades. The latter element still requires a bit of an affection for jazz to be enjoyable I imagine, but this isn't an album that will send people running away muttering that they will never listen to jazz again either.
Conclusion. While I don't see that Aksel Roed's Other Aspects have made an album that will have all that much of an appeal for a more progressive rock interested audience, those who tend to fins certain kinds of jazz to be enjoyable should get a lot out of this album. With my more limited knowledge in the field my recommendation would go towards fans of traditional big band jazz ensembles that also find jazz bands with a more expressive and improvisational edge to them to be interesting. For those that recognize themselves in such a description I suspect this album will be regarded as an enjoyable one.
Progmessor: February 2023
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