By Paul de Barros | Published June 2019
If you liked Dave Holland’s ebullient ’80s quartet, you’ll love this album by Danish bassist Anne Mette Iversen’s Ternion Quartet. Though not derivative, Ternion’s inside-outside free-bop recalls Holland’s playfulness, swinging momentum, fondness for unusual meters and delightfully exposed horn lines, unanchored by a chordal instrument. Formed four years ago in Berlin, Ternion struts at the same high level on Invincible Nimbus as it did on its eponymous 2017 debut, with the mischievous inclusion of three brief, intriguingly titled interludes (this time called “Ghost Words”). Playing rangy melodies inspired by 12-tone composition, Iversen doesn’t showcase herself much, but is clearly at the helm, blending joyously with Geoffroy De Masure’s dexterous trombone, Silke Eberhard’s skipetty alto and Roland Schneider’s crackling beats.
Opener “Polychromatic Pictures” sets the tone, both in name and by example, with its telegraphic melody, conversational horns, sturdy bass line and a feeling of innocent wonder. “Within A Diapason” swings with Mingus-like urgency, “Dig Your Heels In” percolates with a dancing 7 feel, and “Four Snakes” and “The Rose Window” feature interlacing, simultaneous horn solos over hitching rhythms, Eberhard stepping out on the latter with an extracurricular cadenza. “Ionian Steps” goes Balkan and “The Invincible Nimbus Of Mystery,” slower, is solemn and, well, mysterious. Interludes can be annoying, but there’s so much going on in this music that the “Ghost Word” bits come as welcome punctuation.
Invincible Nimbus: Polychromatic Pictures; Within A Diapason; The Invincible Nimbus Of Mystery; Ghost Word 1; Dig Your Heels In; Four Snakes; Ghost Word 3; The Rose Window; Ionian Steps; Ghost Word 2. (52:06)
Personnel: Anne Mette Iversen, bass; Silke Eberhard, alto saxophone; Geoffroy De Masure, trombone; Roland Schneider, drums.