By Michael Jackson | Published January 2018
If you crave genre-busting value-for-money, you have it here. Brilliantly eclectic thirty-something Norwegian saxophonist/composer/arranger Marius Neset sumptuously yokes frenetic grooves and stylistic jumpcuts—jungles of elements melding classical, jazz and sound collage.
Recognizable on the more tobogganing sorties—such as “Sirens Of Cologne” and “Life Goes On”—is the influence of madcap genius Django Bates, who taught Neset at Copenhagen’s Rhythmic Music Conservatory. Saliently, Lionel Loueke is on the session, plus two-thirds of the fabulous Phronesis, namely pianist Ivo Neame and drummer Anton Eger. Another star of this session, which boasts cellist Andreas Brantelid (featured on the schizoid, tension-and-release closer “Eclipse”), bass ace Petter Eldh and Neset’s sister, flutist Ingrid, is Jim Hart, whose vibraphone and marimba heighten texture and excitement, down to the twilight-zone fade on the wildly ambitious “Sirens.”
A leitmotiv are tubular bells, initially deployed to “ring in the New Year”—this project’s genesis was a 2014 commission for a New Year’s Day performance at Kölner Philharmonie. Neame intros “Prague’s Ballet” as if launching into “Body And Soul,” then dances with exquisite cello, Neset’s soprano recalling the chaste classic approach of Branford Marsalis—needed respite from the audacious swirl of invention that precedes, notably the epic “Star”—which conjures the cyclic machinations of a whole solar system. “1994” reveals Neset as more than a doubler on soprano. Remarkable stuff.
Circle Of Chimes: Satellite; Star; A New Resolution; Introduction To Prague’s Ballet; Prague’s Ballet; Life Goes On; Sirens Of Cologne; The Silent Room; 1994; Eclipse. (75.43)
Personnel: Marius Neset, tenor and soprano saxophones; Lionel Loueke, guitar, vocals; Andreas Brantelid, cello; Ingrid Neset, flute, piccolo, alto flute; Ivo Neame, piano; Jim Hart, vibraphone, marim- ba, percussion; Petter Eldh, bass; Anton Eger, drums, percussion.