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Katalyze by OffbeaT

A debut CD by Norwegian group OffbeaT is a breath of fresh air. FrØy Aagre leads OffbeaT through a song list that features haunting ballads and exhilarating atonal improvisations, the sum of which is a piece of work that is finely knit together giving the listener insight into this artist’s broad palette of compositions and moods. The opening piece Lee Valley, is an example of Ms. Aagre’s taste for the melodic. In Slow Train Aagre continues with the fine melodic composition and creates a sense of anticipation from phrase to phrase, as she gently moves through this place that she has created in the music. The rhythm section is present throughout the piece as channel for the flow of Aagre’s notes. In Norwegian Mountains the band arranges a piece that is as rhythmically pleasant as it is melodic. The arrangement allows the band to stretch in a narrow space, each member is effective in contributing to the flow of the piece. They gel early and hold it tight throughout the piece. Aagre’s soprano work is notable. A very nice listen!

FrØyish is the first and only song on the CD that sounds like it was influenced by someone else, but all the names that come to mind are worthy of emulation. At times it is very much a Coltrane influenced piece, at other times, you hear Ornette Coleman. But in the end it is pure Aagre. Well executed by Aagre and the band. Williamsen’s bass work shows a maturity beyond his years as he demonstrates a command of the instrument in all facets of this project. From speed to dynamics, Williamsen teams up with drummer Freddy Augdal to form a rhythm section of considerable merit. The success of this album is the combination of Aagre’s compositions and arrangements executed finely by a group of solid players. This is as fine a debut CD as I have listened to in a long while. Aagre is another example of fine musicians coming out of the Norwegian Jazz scene, I look forward to more from this fine young player.

The CD features and award-winning multimedia piece entitled katalyze. While I was not reviewing this, I did take a look at it, and it was fascinating. Also worth investigating.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: OffbeaT
  • CD Title: Katalyze
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: AIMrecords
  • Tracks: Lee Valley, Slow Train, Norwegian Mountains, FrØyish, Beatitude, Thanks Heaven for a tune in eleven, Been There, One day
  • Musicians: FrØy Aagre(tenor and soprano saxophones), Andreas Ulvo Langnes(piano), Roger Williamsen(double bass), Freddy Augdal(drums), Guests: Glemming Aksnes(french horn tracks 2,4), Tove Margrethe Erikstad (cello track 5)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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