Harald Haugaard / Anders Mogensen, Spirits

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Harald Haugaard / Anders Mogensen
Traditional tunes done in a not-so-traditional style.

Folk fiddler Harald Haugaard teams up with three jazzbos on a thrilling, tasty ride through Danish traditional music. With just two days for rehearsal and another two for recording, this is a very spontaneous document; but for all that, it's full of subtleties, like the tender delicacy with which they caress the ballad "Ramund." Guitar and bass fill out the sound, but sometimes the combinations can be startling — how often will you hear e-bow guitar and hurdy-gurdy together, for instance? Haugaard may be the nominal leader, but it's really a meeting of minds, casually pushing down musical barriers. The old tunes become a springboard for improvisation, keeping the traditional feel but delving into rock, jazz and even classical music. Part of the joy here is the oblique left turns into the unlikely; you never know quite where each piece will end up.