Nordic Connect brings together the inventive and like-minded musical personalities of trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, saxophonist Christine Jensen and pianist Maggi Olin in a celebration of their Nordic heritage and shared musical experiences. Rounding out the dynamic quintet on Flurry is drummer Jon Wikan and bassist Mattias Welin.
The similarities between the co-leaders of this session go well beyond gender, ethnicity and, in the case of Ingrid and Christine, sisterhood. There is a common language heard in compositional style and improvisational approach. As writers, each has a modern, sophisticated approach that combines harmonically challenging forms with strong melodic emphasis and plenty of space for experimentation. As soloists, each is a relaxed story-teller with playful tendencies and astonishing technique. The session’s overriding theme of melancholy mixed with optimism is apparent throughout. The title track, composed by Olin and reminiscent of the Miles Davis Quintet from the 1960s, is a perfect opener that features Ingrid’s blistering, yet controlled technique. Other standout tracks include Ingrid’s pulsating "Things I Love," Olin’s chromatic swinger "Sweet Dream" and Christine’s discreetly funky "Cowboy."
Wikan and Welin are rhythm soul mates; they are both dynamic players who can hold things together in solid, swinging fashion, yet possess a penchant for risk-taking that complements each soloist. With exemplary cymbal work, in the tradition of Bob Moses, Wikan sculpts ideal landscaping into each piece with cunning mastery. Welin’s buoyant, melodic bass lines propel the music along gracefully his lyrical solo on "Sweet Adelphi" is punchy and flowing.
A truly collaborative endeavor, Nordic Connect is an exhilarating success. Flurry is an invigorating and uplifting collection of progressive jazz delivered by three forward-thinking musical soul-mates.