By Peter Margasak | Published December 2019
During the past five years, bassist Petter Eldh has revealed his versatility while anchoring a wide variety of ensembles, Django Bates Belovèd and singer Lucia Cadotsch’s Speak Low among them. Simultaneously, he’s emerged both as a producer and bandleader. And with the stunning Koma Saxo, Eldh showcases the full diapason of his abilities, particularly his dynamic work as a producer. While jazz artists have been tangling with hip-hop for decades, Eldh ingeniously borrows production techniques, rather than breakbeats, from the Bronx-bred genre, maintaining a loose post-bop sensibility, but reframing it with an askew rhythmic thrust. Three of Scandinavia’s best saxophonists—Jonas Kullhammar, Otis Sandsjö and Mikko Innanen—submit to Eldh’s vision, frequently playing tidy unison lines in a deliciously smeared blend, that in post-production are treated like oil paint on canvas. Most pieces here use the rhythm section as a variable armature over which those horn-blends are stretched and pulled, and on “Ostron Koma,” the saxophonists serve up an almost martial riff before fracturing into a three-way honkfest. It all ranks as one of the most distinctive records of the year and presents potent new possibilities for the collision of uncut post-bop and electronics.
Koma Saxo: Kali Koma; Ostron Koma; Cyclops Dance; Byågz; Koma Tema; Blumer; Fanfarum For Komarum II; Slakten Makten Takten; LH 440; Sport Koma; Pari Koma; Sä Rinner Tiden Bort. (36:12)
Personnel: Petter Eldh, bass; Christian Lillinger, drums; Otis Sandsjö, Jonas Kullhammar, tenor saxophone; Mikko Innanen, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone.