Danish pianist/composer Jakob Davidsen’s latest offering, Mangfoldighed, refers to the diversity of life, art, society and nature. The varied musical scheme of the recording combines free-form improvisation, electronica, folk and classical to create elements of constant surprise with elaborate cohesiveness. Davidsen strikes the perfect balance between pre-conceived, thoroughly-scripted ensemble sections and moments of spontaneity, especially for the highly adept soloists Iain Ballamy (saxophones) and Staffan Svensson (trumpet).
Throughout the six track suite, "Diversity," simple, recurring themes are layered, stretched and colored, taking full advantage of the available timbres of the orchestra. Highlights include the overt Americana references underneath the incessant blowing of Ballamy on "Part 1," the funky vibe underlying the thunderous drive of drummer Peter Danemo on "Part 3," the string-laden waltz of "Part 5" and the slow build of tension throughout "Part 6." The disc closer, "Sleeping Anna," is a meditative, piano-led sojourn with a fleeting, pensive theme quoted by trumpet and saxophone.
Danemo and bassist Nils Davidsen are a tight unit, handling the frequent tempo and style changes with ease. Violinist John Von Daler and cellist John Ehde are both outstanding instrumentalists with strong classical backgrounds and jazz fluency.
The disc's unpredictable, yet pleasing flow of sound is evidence of Davidsen’s broad musical vision. Mangfoldighed is a brilliant collection of emotional, quirky, and sophisticated jazz that entices repeated listening.