HAKON KORNSTAD – TENOR BATTLE
The title's a bit misleading – as the record's hardly the sort of tenor battle you might have heard from Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon back in the day – and instead, the title's a bit of a pun, in that Hakon Kornstad plays both tenor sax, and sings in a tenor voice too! The record opens up in this really magical flow that begins with the saxophone sound of Hakon Kornstad, and blends in sublime sounds on instruments that include harmonium, cimbalon, harpsichord, and percussion – plus some excellent work from bassist Per Zanussi, who really grounds the whole thing. The record's easily one of the most compelling we've heard from Kornstad so far – that's saying a lot, given the strength of his other albums – and Hakon's got this new level of sensitivity that really comes through in the way he approaches his sound – not just his core performance on tenor, but also his use of a bit of flute, and process of looping live with the instrumentation too. Many of the compositions are from operatic sources – part of Kornstad's growing fascination with the format – and Hakon also sings a bit, in this stunning tenor voice that's really wonderful – completely captivating, especially amongst this instrumentation – and never forced or hokey at all. We'd hardly believe that such blend could come off so well – but it does, and with uniquely beautiful results – on titles that include "Je Crois Entendre Encore", "Song Of India", "En Fermant Les Yeux", "Morgen", and "Marechiare". ~ Dusty Groove
THE BROKEN ORHESTRA - GLASS (FEATURING MELENTINI)
The Broken Orchestra are a UK based production duo creating soulful, chilled yet experimental music with layers and textures of instrumentation and sounds. They began creating music in 2010 and since then have worked with world-renowned vocalists Inyang Bassey, Shawn Lee and Natalie Gardiner. In 2012 they released their first full length album ‘Shibui’ which was released in Japan through P-Vine Records. In 2015 they continued to develop and work with a range of vocalists and followed up with a series of single releases featuring female emcee Lady Paradox on ‘Digital Age’ and the heart felt vocals of Jack Conman with ‘Shallow Humour’. Both tracks received national airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music with ‘Shallow Humour’ also being featured on BBC Radio One.The latest single release from The Broken Orchestra see’s a return to layered textures and experimental sounds with the surreal but intriguing vocal talents of Melentini. Written as collaboration between the duo and Berlin based vocalist, ‘Glass’ features a haunting blend of layered vocals and subtly crafted instrumentation. Whilst musically remaining routed in the simplistic style and sound the duo has evolved and grown over the past few years, it has been highlighted as an exciting progression in the collectives’ development.
HAROLD DANKO – LOST IN THE BREEZE
A really well-balanced trio outing from pianist Harold Danko – so much so that almost all the compositions here are attributed to the trio of Danko, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield! That sort of compositional credit is key to the workings of the record – as the role of the players is very equal, and there are even moments when Anderson's bass seems to take more of the center stage than Danko's piano – in a really great way that creates a marvelous interplay between the two instruments. Hirshfield is maybe a bit more understated on drums, but clearly plays a key role throughout – and titles include "Fall Splits", "Big Squeeze", "Salt N Sugar", "Stumble Crush", and "Fish Road" – plus versions of Duke Jordan's "If I Did Would You" and "Paula". ~ Dusty Groove