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Whats Your Bag by GT2

GT2 consists of reedman Anders Lonne Gonseth & percussionist Ulrik Ibsen Thorsrud; What's Your Bag finds the Norwegian duo experimenting their way through 13 mostly untitled pieces, starting with track 1 (start) and finishing at track 13 (end). This is reminiscent of some of the jazz that was made at the very end of the 1960s, with lots of clanging percussion and little in the way of theme and resolution, the tracks take off, build, and then fade one into another. Gronseth is naturally unafraid to play off-register, but he chooses to do so only sparingly and with admirable restraint.

The absence of titles is fitting, because it does appear to be a collection of improvisations rather than one of songs. It makes it a bit difficult to discuss the individual tracks, but no matter. Gronseth alternates between tenor sax and bass clarinet, showing a nice melodic gift on both. Thorsrud is prone to creating atmospheric noises with tuned percussion, but is able to groove along when the pair finds a nice pocket.

This is the type of recording that is unlikely to cross ideological boundaries. Devotees of late Coltrane, Ayler and the like will probably enjoy hearing the echoes of their heroes. Those who found that freedom intolerable will likely find this even worse. For my part, while I found that at any given moment something interesting was likely happening with the music and that their was plenty of melodic invention really by both players, I think a little songwriting would've gone a long way here. What's Your Bag is an interesting collection of pleasing sounds that never coalesces into more than that.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: GT2
  • CD Title: Whats Your Bag
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Acoustic Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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