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Friends & Neighbors (Roligheten / Johansson / Gronberg / Strom / Ostvang): Circles (Clean Feed)

An exuberant album of modern jazz from the Norwegian quintet of Andre Roligheten on tenor saxophone, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Oscar Gronberg on piano, Jon Rune Strom on double bass and Tollef Ostvang on drums & percussion, their 6th full album of lyrically rich, energetic free jazz taking the 60's & 70s New Thing movement into new modern directions; excellent!
 

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Personnel:



Andre Roligheten-tenor saxophone

Thomas Johansson-trumpet

Oscar Gronberg-piano

Jon Rune Strom-double bass

Tollef Ostvang-drums, percussion


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UPC: 5609063006629

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF662CD
Squidco Product Code: 34391

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2024
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Athletic Sound, in Halden, Norway, on December 14th and 15th, 2022 by Dag Erik Johansen.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Scandinavian powerhouse Friends & Neighbors make an auspicious return with Circles, their sixth full-length release, brimming - as you might expect from an outfit borrowing its moniker from a lesser-known Ornette Coleman classic - with dexterous, hard-edged improvisations, unapologetically taking influence from the fearless New Thing movement of the 1960s and early 70s.

But Friends & Neighbors' bold mandate has always extended beyond the realms of mere homage. Releases such as No Beat Policy (Øra Fonogram, 2011), What's Wrong? (Clean Feed, 2016) and The Earth Is # (Clean Feed, 2021) testify to the band's remarkable propensity for reshaping the seismic innovations of Archie Shepp, John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, to instigate incendiary and decidedly contemporary admixtures bristling with vital energy and invention, brokering a robust accordance between reverence and insurgency.

On Circles, André Roligheten (tenor saxophone), Thomas Johansson (trumpet), Oscar Grönberg (piano), Jon Rune Strøm (double bass) and Tollef Østvang (drums and percussion) - fresh from duties with formidable names including Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Cortex, Universal Indians and Paal Nilssen-Love's Large Unit - reconvene for what is arguably their finest offering yet. Each musician here contributes stunning arrangements, liberating the collective in demarcating a succession of clandestine pathways bridging swinging bop, kinetic extemporisation and melodic balladry. Barnstormers such as 'Ghost March' and the title-track resurrect the impish spirituality of Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor with courageous unions of investigative abstraction and gospel-tinged lyricism, while 'Hymn Infinitum' slows the pace via its misty-eyed, film-noir-type lullaby.

While Friends & Neighbors evince a clear reverence for the past, Circles sees them remain entirely courageous in their treatments of it. By adopting, and then adapting, the trailblazing jazz subversions of the 60s, they follow the radical modus operandi demarcated by their illustrious predecessors, reconnoitring uncharted terrains, while affording an occasional adoring glance in the rear view mirror."-Clean Feed



"It's fitting a band named after an Ornette Coleman deep cut draws influence from the edgier side of jazz: Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus. On Circles, the Scandinavian jazz group Friends & Neighbors draws on these figures and adds its own take.

"Cecil" opens the record up with a blast: the rhythm section of Jon Rune Strøm on bass and drummer Tollef Østvang freely move around between stabs by pianist Oscar Grönberg before André Roligheten and Thomas Johansson enter on alto sax and trumpet, respectively. Grönberg's solo has a slanted, almost fractured quality that draws on Taylor's percussive approach, while Roligheten's solo sounds like he's fighting with his horn from the way he draws out screeching, squiggly notes. The piece winds down to a quiet finish, but by then it's got the listener's attention.

Throughout Circles, the group enjoys paying tribute to their influences. "Ghost March" has the two horns playing in unison, a la mid period Ayler, while the punchy, quick lines of "Charles" sound steeped in late Mingus' records like Changes. And one hears shades of Don Pullen in the way Grönberg plays: quick bursts of sound, then slower melodic passages.

But they aren't just going through the motions or aping their heroes. The title track has a nice, slow groove, and plenty of space for the horns to play lines that bob and weave through each other. When Johansson steps up for his solo, he gets a bright and brassy tone, going between quick runs up and down and some longer, more mellow notes.

Key to this record is Grönberg's playing. His piano keeps the leads going, gently pushing them along with his comping, but also keeps things from getting too far out there: at times he's answering their lines, at others putting a well-placed chord here and there. When he gets to stretch out, like on "Son," he plays with gusto, even gently guiding the group into a Latin-style groove.

With Circles, Friends & Neighbors show both confidence and chops. For those new to them, it's a good place to get on board, and anyone already familiar with them will find this one enjoyable."-Roz Milner, Dusted Magazine


Get additional information at Dusted Magazine

Artist Biographies

"Norwegian saxophonist, improviser and composer.

André was born in Skien, Norway in 1985. He started playing the saxophone at the age of 8 and early on became interested in improvised music. Roligheten has studied to Bachelor at the Jazz Academy at NTNU in Trondheim, with teachers and mentors like John Pål Inderberg and Erling Aksdal. Now he recently finished his Masters degree in improvised music at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.

One of Rolighetens main projects is the duo "Albatrosh". After winning the prestigious Norwegian "JazzIntro" award in 2008, "Young Jazz Musicians of the year", Albatrosh has had busy years. In 2009 they released their critically acclaimed debut album, "Seagull Island" (InnerEar), as the cohesive press celebrated with solid rolls of the dice, and by the big Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet described as "perhaps the most exciting release in Norwegian elite jazz in many years". And John Kelman from All about jazz: "Roligheten and Dale manage to say much without ever resorting to excess. A fine debut from a duo with a bright future, Seagull Island doesn't just suggest great promise; it delivers on it as well." In 2010 they released their second album "Mystery Orchestra with Grenager & Tafjord", featuring cellist Lene Grenager and horn player Hild Sofie Tafjord. This album received great reviews as well, and the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen ranked it to be the best Norwegian jazz record of 2010. At North Sea jazz 2009 they took part in the European Jazz Competition, and won the prestigious 1st prize "Best Band". Jury chairman, Maria Schneider said: "Most original, great interplay and amazing improvisation, effective and colorful compositions paired to amazing improvisation." This meant radio play across Europe as well as a dedicated concert at North Sea Jazz 2010.

During "Young Nordic Jazz Comets 2008", the jury awarded Roligheten with the Soloist Prize "because of his virtuous technique and his dynamic play. Especially his technique combined with the ability to improvise in very tight arrangements made the choice. He is disciplined - in control - and plays with an impressive rhythmic and melodic combination. He is a young talent!"In 2009 André went on a Europe tour with European Jazz Orchestra conducted by Peter Herbolzheimer, where he played with some great fellow musicians from 20 countries all over Europe.

Some of Rolighetens other current projects are "Team Hegdal", fellow saxophonist Eirik Hegdals new quartet (Hegdal, known from a.o. Trondheim Jazz Orchestra with Joshua Redman). Terje Mosnes wrote in the Norwegian Newspaper Dagbladet about the first record: "..sparkling solos and swinging hard drive, and two saxophonists that ardent each other to the most "harmolodical" deeds I can ever recall hearing from Norwegian musicians."The record ("Volume 1") was also awarded this year's record of 2010 by the Norwegian magazine Jazznytt.

André is also playing with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (TJO). At Molde Jazzfestival 2010, he played with TJO ́s project with Ståle Storløkken (Super Silent) and the legendary Norwegian rock group Motorpsycho.

Roligheten has also played and worked with musicians like: Andrew D ́angelo, Theo Bleckman, Django Bates, John Edwards, Paul Lovens, Axel Dörner, Robin Hayward, Raymond Strid, Bugge Wesseltoft, Mathias Eick, Ola Kvernberg, Paal Nilssen-Love, Per Zanussi

André have played on festivals like Molde Jazzfestival, Kongsberg Jazzfestival, Oslo Jazzfestival, Norh Sea Jazz, Münster Jazz, Süd Tyrol Jazz, 12 Points, Dølajazz, Nattjazz, Jazzfest, Maijazz, Soddjazz, Vossajazz. And done several tours in Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Czech, Slovenia, France, Italy, China and USA."

-Andre Roligheten Website (https://roligheten.com/about/)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Thomas is born and raised in Skien,Telemark. With a bachelor degree from the University of Stavanger, and Masters from The Norwegian Academy of Music, he is a part of the strong young Norweigan jazz elite. He has done extensive touring in Scandinavia, Europe, Japan and USA, with both his own projects and as a sideman in several other bands.

His main project is Cortex, which is a quartet consisting of Thomas, Kristoffer Alberts, Ola Høyer and Gard Nilssen. Cortex is a Norwegian band which plays enerergetic jazz of the finest brand. With over one hundred live perfomances and four highly acclaimed albums, they position themselves as one of the strongest additions to the Norwegian jazz scene.

Thomas is also active in several other projects, such as: All Included, Friends & Neighbors, Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit, and Scheen Jazzorkester.

Thomas currently lives in Skien, working as a freelance trumpet player and composer. Thomas has in recent years toured and played at several festivals and clubs at home and abroad, with both his own and others projects. For projects and livedates, check the pages on the menu at the top of the page."

-Thomas Johansson Website (http://www.thomasjohansson.no/?page_id=22)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Grönberg is a graduate of the Jazz program at Trondheim Musikkonsevatorium in 2011,[1] where he joined the Hanna Paulsberg Concept.[2]

O. G. Trio, including Trygve Waldemar Fiske (double bass) and Tomas Järmyr (drums), is a new, young, creative, exciting and fearless trio that played its debut concert in 2009. Together they create a world of groove, improvisation, humor and playful interaction, all based on Grönberg's subtle and original compositions. The trio is at the same time deeply respectful of the compositions, but also irreverent and free in their interactions over the well-established and endangered species line. The music is inspired by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Ahmad Jamal and Andrew Hill."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Gr%C3%B6nberg)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Strøm grew up on an island in the north-west of Norway. Influenced u. A. By Gary Peacock and Frode Gjerstad , with the first shots were (East of the West, 2011), he plays in the Norwegian free jazz scene with Paal Nilssen-Loves Group Large Unit, Petter Wettre and Mats Gustafsson Nu Ensemble, also with musicians like Mats Äleklint , John Dikeman , Martin Kitchen , Thomas Johansson and Tollef Østvang in formations such as SAKA Trio, Universal Indians, All Included and Friends & Neighbors. 2013, it issued a solo album Jøa.

-Wikipedia (translated Google) (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Rune_Str¿m)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Tollef Østvang (b. 1985 in Røros), is a norwegian drummer/improviser currently living in Trondheim. He´s mostly dedicated to free jazz and other forms of improvised music. Except from playing with his main projects, he have also performed with notable improvisers such as Joe McPhee, Ab Baars, Ig Hennemann, Tobias Delius, Wolter Wierbos, Eric Boeren, Michael Moore, Wilbert de Joode, Dave Rempis, Lasse Marhaug, Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson and Jaap Blonk."

-Tollef Ostvang Website (http://www.tollefostvang.com/www.tollefostvang.com/Bio.html)
4/22/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Cecil 05:41

2. Circles 06:44

3. Ghost March 05:51

4. Son 08:17

5. Charles 05:55

6. Hymn Infinitum 03:33

7. Latin Phonetics 06:38

Related Categories of Interest:


Clean Feed
Improvised Music
Jazz
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Quintet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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