Mats Eilertsen, Flux

Peter Margasak

By Peter Margasak

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Exquisite chamber jazz, marked by dazzling restraint.

Thanks to landmark recordings on ECM Records by the likes of Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal and Arild Andersen back in the '70s, many people think of cool introversion when Scandinavian jazz is mentioned. Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen certainly embraces that Nordic feel on this excellent quartet outing, but there's nothing nostalgic or retro about the music. Joined by the fantastic Swedish reedist Fredrik Ljungvkist, the sublimely creative Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen, and the Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger, he delivers exquisite chamber jazz marked by dazzling restraint. All of the players are afforded generous space to improvise — sometimes over circling vamps, other times as a judicious multi-linear free-for-all — but the ensemble's cohesion takes greater precedence. The music uses many different approaches, from loosely swinging grooves to levitating pin-drop ambience, but their intense focus remains no matter where the foursome goes.