Originally from Norway, Knut is currently based out of Canada. This recording features some of the best and most active musicians on the Jazz scene today. A fine ensemble of players who come together to make an exciting statement.
Starting with an original from Haugsoen entitled "Win Win", this piece begins with an infectious rhythmic beat that sets the pace with Mike Murley's sax joining in the fun. After a few bars, the shift is to a more mainstream tempo with some effective drumming from Ted Warren. Also of note is guitarist Geoff Young. His delivery and manor of attach add an interesting dimension to this all encompassing tune. He kicks into high gear as the pace quickens to a be-bop type romp.
"Step And A Half" is the most interesting piece because it always everyone to stretch and explore various manors of expression. It is an up tempo number with key contributions from trumpet player Ingrid Jensen and sax man Mike Murley. Over the years, Mike has developed his playing considerably. Taking more chances and also getting inside and around the note without being too harsh or obtrusive. Ingrid's smooth style of playing, along with her lyrical abilities. She has great control over her playing and can stir up a dust storm quickly. Lest we not forget Knut. He takes a great solo always probing, and moving the number along, raising the bar in the process.
Jim McHugh and Dorothy Field's composition "Don't Blame Me" is one of three standards on this CD. After a brief piano intro from Knut, Ingrid enters with a beautiful trumpet sound showcasing her ability to play a ballad with conviction and purpose. Jim Vivian (bass) and Ted Warren (drums) paint a beautiful backdrop for Ingrid's playing. Soft brushes and gentle plucking set Ingrid free to make her Flugelhorn sing throughout. Knut's delicate and introspective solo adds to the tapestry.
"Trinidad" features vibist Stefan Bauer. His style is reminiscent of Milt Jackson's unique approach to the instrument. Fluid, yet simple. Capturing the spirit of the composition. Jim Vivian has a chance to shine as well. Balancing his sound with that of Stefan's to rise to the occasion and deliver a stirring solo.
Knut Haugsoen is in great company on this outing. With some of the most respected musicians out there today. He is also a composer that should be noticed by more of his peers. His compositions are not only musical, allowing the other musicians to shine, but they also work. Repeated listening to his works display the other side of Knut. His ideas, and his style of composing are refreshing. Keep an ear out for this talent.