Torben Westergaard, the musical chameleon, has put out an album definitely worth listening to.
Available from Bandcamp
Hyelim Kim – Daegeum; Rene Damsbak – Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Synths & Electronics; Torben Westergaard – Bass, Keyboards, Voice; Marilyn Mazur – Percussion
Before THE GORI PROJECT II arrived in my mailbox, I was not familiar with Torben Westergaard. I guess I should have been. This guy has put out seventeen albums. He’s composed for television, documentaries, and commercials.
Danish electric bassist Westergaard has done Argentinean tango music, music from Brazil and Korea, music for meditation and living with anger. He did a couple of albums aimed at three to ten year old kids and their parents. He did a trio album with one of my favorite Danish musicians, Pierre Dorge. He’s a musical chameleon.
This is the second time Westergaard has combined Danish jazz with music from Korea. The first, THE GORI PROJECT, was created to mark sixty years of Korean-Danish diplomatic relations.
THE GORI PROJECT II features Hyelim Kim on daegeum, a bamboo flute.
The first cut, ‘And This Is So, ’is a good example of what the rest of the album is like. There’s a lot of drums and percussion. You hear Kim’s daegeum in short phrases. Rene Damsbak’s beautiful trumpet plus his use of electronics bring the ECM sound to mind.
Marilyn Mazur is a big part of THE GORI PROJECT II. She’s classically trained but self-taught on the many sound instruments she has collected over the years. You’ll hear many of her bells, gongs, and drums. Urkraft is a Danish term that means primitive force or primitive power.
Mazur says that’s a good way to describe her tribal sounding approach to drumming. She played on Westergaard’s first recording from 1990. But she’s also played with Miles Davis, Pierre Dorge, Christy Doran, Norma Winstone, Arild Andersen, and many others.
Damsbak’s flugelhorn and Kim’s bamboo flute sound great together on ‘You Then You. He sticks to the mid range and Kim goes for the high notes.
When she’s playing the upper register it sounds very much like an ordinary flute. There’s a vibrating part in the daegeum you can hear and feel when she blows the lower notes. Mazur makes a lovely racket with the sticks on her many drums and Westergaard’s bass dances around the edges of everyone else.
‘Det Var En Lordag Aften ’is the prettiest song on the album. ‘It Was A Saturday Night ’is a Danish folk song from the 1800’s. It reminded me of ‘Shenandoah.’ I can’t think of a better sounding instrument than the daegeum to perform this song. It floats gracefully over lonely sounding vocals.
Mazur shows her softer side. Her percussion cradles the music. All the songs on THE GORI PROJECT II are short. You will wish this had lasted longer.
If you’re looking for a straight ahead jazz album, this isn’t it. You will hear things you’ll probably like quite a bit. I’m looking forward to hearing more from trumpeter Rene Damsbak. Marilyn
Mazur has played with a lot of the jazz greats and she’s a big reason this album is so good. Torben Westergaard, the musical chameleon, has put out an album definitely worth listening to.