…exudes a warmth and the promise of a new day….
Resonant Music RM 30-2
Terje Gewelt (acoustic & electric upright bass); John Surman (soprano saxophone, bass clarinet & bass recorder); Erlend Slettevoll (piano & keyboards)
Recorded June 2022
Bassist Terje Gewelt has been a constant on the Scandinavian jazz scene for more that forty years. If at times a rather quiet presence in terms of media hype and exposure, Gewelt has worked steadily and patiently at his music.
As well as countless sideman appearances, he has found time to record a distinctive and varied discography for Resonant Music, of which Dusk Till Dawn is his thirteenth recording as leader.
As the title implies, this is a quiet and evocative album that captures the mood between the twilight hours and the breaking of a new day. Gewelt’s playing straddles leading the group by taking the melody for his colleagues to accompany and embellish, and by turns providing a firm rhythmic backdrop for their explorations of his compositions.
This latter trait is beautifully captured on ‘New Moon’ that allows us to hear Gewelt’s full tone on acoustic bass and his well chosen notes that help guide Surman and Slettevoll through the piece. Surman’s soprano playing on this is a delight with his use of both timbre and dynamics a real highlight, while Slettevoll confining himself to piano is faultless in his accompaniment and his own lyrical solo.
In direct contrast is ‘Aurora Borealis’ with the electronic keyboards supplying a backdrop to the leader’s electric upright bass. When one hears the electric bass Eberhard Weber’s name immediately springs to mind, but much to Gewelt’s credit when wielding the electric instrument, he sounds nothing like Weber imparting a touch and sound all his own.
‘Nightfall’ introduces John Surman’s bass clarinet to the sound scape that is evolving within the trio, and in an all acoustic setting with bass and piano conjures up imagery of the darkness setting in.
Gewelt also takes a fine solo with his tone on the bass full and satisfying, yet complete with subtle inflexions. The loneliness of the ‘Night Watch’ is elevated by the lightness of touch displayed within the trio with piano, acoustic bass and soprano saxophone giving a glimmer of light that will shortly follow.
However, before the dawn is the ominous ‘Wolf Hour’ with electric bass and keyboards providing a sombre and chilling accompaniment for Surman’s bass clarinet.
The low register rumblings add to the general disquiet of the composition, and it is a relief to hear the lithe and dancing melody of ‘North Star’ before the concluding ‘Crack of Dawn’ that exudes a warmth and the promise of a new day.
Throughout, Gewelt’s compositional prowess and careful use of electronics to colour the sound greatly enhances the deployment of Surman’s various instruments in a set that that calms and soothes yet provides sufficient substance to ensure that interest and an element of surprise are to be found within this lovely album.
Reviewed by Nick Lea