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Lifelines by Bruno Raberg

Bruno Raberg is a Swedish bassist and composer, Lifelines is his sixth recording as leader. Raberg has assembled a group of outstanding musicians for this two CD outing, saxophonist Chris Cheek, the guitarist Ben Monder and sharing the drumming duties, Matt Wilson and Ted Poor. The music on both the Red CD and the Blue CD is progressive, contemporary and exciting jazz. The compositions are all original with the exception of one, Miles Davis’ "Nardis". The music flows with stirring emotion, tantalizing effects, bombastic rhythms and hypnotic melodies. The more you listen - the more you hear.

The first disc, the Blue disc has eleven tracks and the drumming is split, one sided in Ted Poor’s favor, he’s playing on eight of the tracks. The drumming from both these masters should be classified as percussion. The songs call for some inspired accompaniment; many of the tunes are bass rhythms care of the leader Bruno Raberg. Cymbals are used to create colour, rims are struck in a block like fashion, the snares are loose and allowed to sizzle with freedom. The hi-hat is played by pumping the foot pedal alone, cymbals loose most of the time and on occasion choked. The bass gets melodic, suspended chords of dazzling beauty. The guitar of Ben Monder sneaks in and out as if diving and surfacing in a fast flowing river. Monder lets flow a lazy river kind of chord and strikes his tremolo bar. Raberg lets his bass ring out in harmonious splendor. The song "Ballad For Summer’s End" and the Blue Disk is complete. The drumming or percussive accompaniment for that particular song was care of Matt Wilson.

The second disc or Red disc has twelve tracks, this one is split evenly between percussionist Ted Poor and Matt Wilson. The Raberg composition "Elegy" starts things off in a free form manner, the acoustic bass is scraped and banged, played col arco - the notes are dragged and ripped from the strings. The saxophone of Chris Cheek hauntingly plays out a mournful melody. A soft mellow tone from his saxophone and a hesitating - reflective tempo creates the somber mood. The bass played pizzicato, storms into view with rapid double time playing. Matt Wilson provides accompaniment, blending and building, diminuendo and crescendo, minimalist drumming to maximum effect. The song seems to flow into the next track "Nardis/Cow’s Tail" as if you are listening to a live performance.

The song "Cosmic Kerfuffle" as the name suggests puts it out there, way above the stratosphere where fusion reigns. Ben Monder lets his cosmic rock sensibilities loose ala Mahavishnu style. The song "Flurries" features Ted Poor on drums he plays free form and is reminiscent of the Tony Williams style, one of my all time favorite drummers. The Raberg composition "New Land" completes the Lifelines Red Disk. A fitting finale, a cool toned Chris Cheek serenades the song home. The rhythm section plays a march like ballad, the song has a glorious grandeur to it, I think upon hearing this of some American traditional folksong, full of bravado and the "Yes We Can" spirit.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bruno Raberg
  • CD Title: Lifelines
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Orbis Music
  • Tracks: Agog, Agni, April Suite, Chosen Path, Lifelines, Revisited Path, Intersection, Moondown, An Afternoon By The Meadow, Gymnastics/Skyscapes, Ballad For Summer’s End, Elegy, Nardis/Cow’s Tail, Fora Do Retrato, Cosmic Kerfuffle, Doxian, Expectation, Candescence, Distant Roads, Flurries, Dream Walker, Eruption, New Land
  • Musicians: Bruno Ruberg (bass), Chris Cheek (saxophones), Ben Monder (guitars), Ted Poor and Matt Wilson (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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