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Jon Irabagon, John Hegre and Nils Are Dronen - Axis

  by Keith How

published: 17 / 3 / 2017

Jon Irabagon, John Hegre and Nils Are Dronen - Axis
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD


Challenging but enthralling new album from highly-rated Norwegian/American modern jazz trio Irabagadon, Hegre and Dronen

'Axis' is a two track excursion into the far realms of what you could refer to as “modern avant jazz”. This Norwegian/American trio step right up and take you into seemingly uncharted territory providing alternative street maps to two cities, Berlin And Fukuoka. 'Axis' is not dinner party music or easy listening. Only after a couple of listens does the album reveal its pure audaciousness. At first listen the album appears impenetrable. The first track 'Berlin' begins as a meditation. Ibrabagon’s saxophone appears to be in an exploratory state quietly meandering between percussive interplay before moving into a second movement of intense wails and moans of fiery percussion and guitar. The third apparent “movement “ finds the trio more restrained weaving in and out with short, sharp riffs and licks before returning to a wild conclusion. 'Berlin' at seventeen minutes is a journey into the heart of the city.The opening section is an arrival, letting you quietly find your way in a new city before the intensity of the street. The final section lets you wander lost without a map in dangerous and unfamiliar places. The interplay between the band is astonishingly complex yet refined, twisting and turning with a dynamic cohesion that is almost unbelievable. 'Fukuoka' features flashes of controlled improvisation, guitar and saxophone are like Samurai swordsmen, blades clashing furiously in the sunlight, stepping back into moments of contemplation. The piece is a triumph of invention and performance. Irabagon is masterful, his saxophone softly moaning and sighing then exploding into a massive riffs before subsiding into quietness. Almost volcanic in intensity he is electric. Hegre’s guitar is intelligent, often understated,a chord carefully inserted or solo rippling like a mountain stream. Dronen’s percussive work is absolutely peerless, intuitively responding to the others with the power of a rock drummer and the touch of an artist. Berlin we know. Fukuoka is a city on the Japanese island of Kyushu and 'Axis' is city music! A challenging listen that has rewards if you persevere. Not everyone’s cup of tea. The question is “Can you dig it?”

Track Listing:-
1 Berlin
2 Fukuoka

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