What this group captures is the effortless cool and the elegant swing of Jamal’s music.

Losen Records LOS 287-2 

Andreas Dreier: double bass; John Pål Inderberg: baritone sax; Bjørn Vidar Solli: guitar; Frederik Villmow: drums, percussion; Kristoffer Kompen: trombone

The tunes in the set continue Dreier’s tribute to Ahmad Jamal. The album carries on from Dreier’s previous two albums, albeit with original tunes rather than standards. The compositions seek to recreate the music of Jamal’s piano trio – albeit with four (sometimes five, such as on ‘Papa Blues’, track 4, and ‘Morning path’, track 5) musicians and without a piano.  There is also a change at the drum stool.

On this set, Dreier brings baritone saxophonist John Pål Inderberg into his band (or perhaps Inderberg allows Dreier’s trio to join him?).  The set opens with ‘Ahmad’s Waltz’ in which the ¾ time signature is disrupted by the time signatures of saxophone solos that breezily shift up and down the gears dragging the guitar with it to disconcerting effect.  

That the tune is a tribute to Ahmad Jamal is clear and picks up on his ability to gently deconstruct the timing of tunes and his sleight-of-hand way of moving a tune from an unfamiliar location back to the bridge to surprise and enthral the listener.

Bass saxophone and guitar double up on the simple motif of each tune but their journeys in and out of these are delightfully askew without ever losing the rhythm section.  The title tune, track 3, is another waltz tempo in which Inderberg’s solos run across bar lines, with the group providing a sort of safety net of laconically strummed guitar, walking bass, and shuffling drums.

Given the heft of the baritone saxophone, Inderberg, as always, makes it sound light and makes playing it sound effortless. Inspired, Solli’s solos cut loose and tumble.  What this group captures is the effortless cool and the elegant swing of Jamal’s music.