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Ascensio by Bruno Raberg

Recorded at Berklee College of Music in May 2000, this 10-song collection from bassist Raberg, trumpeter Phil Grenadier (Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller, Billy Hart), alto and soprano saxophonist Allan Chase (the former head of Jazz Studies and improv at the New England Conservatory of Music who has worked with John Zorn, Andrew Cyrille and others), and drummer Marcello Pellitteri (Miroslav Vitous, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw) is an adventurous affair that works outside established, clichéd parameters. This is forward-facing music that, although it is infused with nods to those multifarious influences brought to the session, is more concerned with acknowledging the present and gazing at the future of the music loosely called jazz.

Raberg, who has worked with Billy Hart, Bob Moses, and other luminaries since migrating to the U.S. from his native Sweden more than 20 years ago, brings a strong set of compositions to the session, most of which might be better described as frameworks. This is largely an improvisatory recording, though even unpredictable in its eschewing of and blurring of the lines. The opening piece, "Maya," possesses a consistently recognizable melody of sorts in its dissonance. The alto is crisp, the drums crisper. Raberg’s bass work is deeply resonant, and the harmonic interchange between the horns is sublime. On the languorous "African Daybreak," again the interplay between sax and trumpet is exquisite, the bass solo thoughtful and measured.

Chase’s soprano on "Stilts" is beautiful. Pellitteri’s bells is a nice touch, and what sounds like a blow through just the trumpet mouthpiece sets the composition up. Bass and cymbals play under trumpet, with exceptional bowing as the sonorous elephant trumpet and squeaky soprano deliver a cacophony of sound. The arco intro to the title piece contrasts with the Latin-tinged horn work and percussive drumming.

This is a wholly mesmerizing recording by four exceptionally proficient musicians.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bruno Raberg
  • CD Title: Ascensio
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Orbismusic
  • Musicians: Bruno Raberg, acoustic bass, composer, leader. Allan Chase, soprano and alto saxophone. Marcello Pellitteri, drums. Phil Grenadier, trumpet.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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