One of Norway's most flexible and diverse young saxophonists, Hakon Kornstad could almost be the poster boy for stylistic range. He's worked in straight-ahead contexts, so-called “nu-jazz” with scene kingpin Bugge Wessltoft, free improvisation and his own polyglot pop-funk-jazz-rock juggernaut Wibutee. But on his first solo album Kornstad finds yet another path. Although he sticks mainly to tenor sax, there's a strong undercurrent of Scandinavian folk music — such as the gorgeous “Sweden,” which flits between lyric passages and terse multiphonic patterns. On most of the tunes he multi-tracks rhythmic elements — on flute and melodica — and a few guests join him on several numbers, including Knut Reiersrud's gorgeous lap steel on “Kokarde.” But it's the reedist's resourcefulness — particularly his skill at organizing minimal materials into fully realized performances — and melodic gifts that keep this anything but Spartan.
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