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aLIVE2003 by Lonely Woman

aLIVE2003 collects music from two performances by the Norwegian group Lonely Woman. With a track list including compositions by Roscoe Mitchell and Charles Mingus, you might come in expecting a challenging musical experience, but the set is surprisingly accessible. I suspect there are two things involved: one is that the dynamic wherein the vanguard of yesterday becomes accepted by the mainstream and longer seems jarring; the second is simply that the interpretive powers of Lonely Woman appear to be strong enough to make even difficult music seem easy.

The set consists of one original by bassist Tine Asmundsen and covers of six tunes, two from McCoy Tyner and one each from Mitchell, Mingus, Chico Freeman and Billy Harper. Tyner's "Search for Peace" is placid overall but works to a soft roil, led by pianist Jorn Oien. The straight ahead feel of Asmundsen's "Lummring" is just slightly belied by a dynamic solo on tenor sax Vidar Johansen that builds to an off-register climax. Mitchell's "C-Monster" is the most completely free exploration on the disc, each player squiggling in before building to a blues-based conclusion. The balance of the disc is atmospheric and pleasant. Mingus's "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" is given a successful reading that is mellower than any band led by either Charlie or Duke is apt to have come up with.

Lonely Woman is a fine example of a European jazz group. Their playing substitutes nuance for brashness, though I would've liked a little more fire in places. aLIVE2003 is a pleasant enough listen with some good individual playing.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lonely Woman
  • CD Title: aLIVE2003
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Hazel Jazz
  • Rating: Three Stars
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