The Squid's Ear Magazine

Strzalek, Julia / Cornelia Nilsson: Scenery Somewhere (FRIM Records)

Recording in a former hospital funeral chapel in Sweden--Stockholm's Kapellet--the drum and sax duo of alto saxophonist Julia Strzalek and drummer Cornelia Nilsson focuses on melody and clear articulation in a dialog that finds their passion in calmly unfolding conversation, consistently illuminating their instrumental and instant-compositional mastery.

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product information:

UPC: 7320470264638

Label: FRIM Records
Catalog ID: FRIM5D
Squidco Product Code: 33024

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Sweden
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Kapellet, in Stockholm, Sweden, on September 3rd, 2021, by Johan E. Andersson.


Julia Strzalek-alto saxophone

Cornelia Nilsson-drums

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"How magical that in an improvisation recorded in a former hospital funeral chapel, we hear the sounds of life.

We hear the sounds of breath. Not only the gentle sibilance of the air spilling from the edges of the mouthpiece, as it escapes life as a note; not only the airiness of those low drums: but also the sound of the music being allowed to breathe within the space's very special acoustic. We hear the sounds of the heartbeat in Cornelia Nilsson's low drums, now urgent, now reassuring. And we hear the unmistakeable sound of the voice in Julia Strzalek's alto tone.

Drums as heartbeat, saxophone as voice, yes; but throughout, we also hear rhythmic saxophone, and melodic drums. Listen too to Strzalek's parsimony, as she spins melodies by worrying at permutations of a small number of pitches, just as might a great drummer. And if this is one example of highly compositional improvisation, listen also to Nilsson's acute sense of orchestration and textural clarity, both of which contribute to the masterful sense of structure which emerges from the performance.

There are moments of great fragility and delicacy in this music, but there is an equally stunning sense of poise and underlying strength: the almost sledgehammer-impact of the duo never capitulating to the histrionics which can occasionally characterise the saxophone-drums context. The quiet fire of the performance does at one point burst out into something more expressionistic, but instead of this being a culmination, no sooner has the moment arrived than it magically transitions into a transcendent final five minute coda of ecstatic restraint.

The sounds of peace, patience, poise, and indeed - the sounds of life."-Alexander Hawkins, from the liner notes"

Artist Biographies

Julia Strzalek is a German saxophonist, bassist and composer who is residing in Sweden. She is known for the group Fire! Orchestra, Kasper Agnas Cirkus, and her duo with Cornelia Nilsson.

-Discogs (

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"Cornelia Nilsson (b. 1992) has made a great impression on the Swedish and Danish jazz scene. She has lived in Copenhagen for 3 years and plays with musicians such as Tomas Franck, Anders 'AC' Christensen, and Daniel Franck to name a few. In Sweden, she is active in groups such as Mathias Landæus Trio and Thomas Markusson Open.

Photograph by Cornelia Nilsson playing drumsCornelia has collaborated with international musicians; eg jazz legend Kenny Barron, Aaron Parks, Seamus Blake 2019, she received Bengt Säve-Söderbergh's scholarship and Ronnie Gardiner's 'Swedish Drummer Deserving Wider Recognition Award'."

-Lunds Kommun (Translated by Google) (

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Track Listing:

1. Scenery Somewhere 27:19

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Percussion & Drums
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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