Anne Mette Iversen Quartet + 1 - Round Trip

Label/Year: Brooklyn Jazz Underground, 2017

Lineup - Anne Mette Iversen: bass; John Ellis: tenor saxophone; Peter Dahlgren: trombone; Danny Grissett: piano; Otis Brown III: drums.


Anne Mette Iversen, a modern bassist, composer, and bandleader based in Berlin, releases her seventh album on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label with the suggestive title Round Trip. This idea of leaving and return to the same point is scattered throughout the eight original compositions whose exciting arrangements and interplay won me over. 

Most of the tunes on the recording thrive with a groovy, pulsing rhythm that feels contemporary, urban, and provocative to the ear, gaining more emphasis with the addition of a two-horn frontline that thickens sound layers and infuses wider melodic solutions. Iversen added trombonist Peter Dahlgren to her long-time quartet composed of tenorist John Ellis, pianist Danny Grissett, and drummer Otis Brown III.

Round Trip opens with the debonair title track, where the contrapuntal work between the horns makes room for Grissett’s crisp pianism. After returning to the starting point, the tune advances with interspersed statements between Ellis and Dahlgren, who find a common chain of thought.

Lines & Curves” and “The Ballad That Would Not Be” carry some classical intonations in its main melodies. The former even brings a slight Oriental flavor attached, depicting another round trip and featuring a piano-bass reciprocation before the horns come to the forefront. A collective horn-driven improvisation sets foot on the groovy road paved by the high-qualified rhythm section.

Both trombonist and drummer, in a stirring interaction, introduce the upbeat “Segue”, which, acquiring a swinging foundation, provides the freedom claimed by the soloists, Ellis and Grissett. Both deliver clear ideas through challenging executions. 

With much less sharp angles, “Wiistedt’s View” creates a melancholic soundscape that works mostly in a typical piano trio formation, expanded with the inclusion of Dahlgren’s mellow trombone.

If “Scala” is an elegant, deftly orchestrated piece that gallops with a triumphant spirit and features zealous bass and piano solos, “Red Hairpins” is unmatchable in terms of post-bop panache, closing the recording in an appreciable manner. By the end, Brown’s percussive rumbles rhyme with class and enthusiasm.

Brimming with bold sounds, Round Trip is a successful achievement where no redundancy is found. This CD packs all the virtuosity and straightforwardness of these musicians whose rapport is equally laudable since they bring a cutting honesty and luxurious gravitas into the innovative jazz sphere.

         Grade  A-

         Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 – Round Trip ► 03 – Segue ► 08 – Red Hairpin