Anne Mette Iversen's Ternion Quartet - Invincible Nimbus

Label: Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records, 2019

Personnel - Silke Eberhard: alto saxophone; Geoffrey De Masure: trombone; Anne Mette Iversen: bass; Roland Schneider: drums.

anne-mette-iversen-invincible-nimbus.jpg

Anne Mette Iversen is a Berlin-based bassist/composer from Denmark who touts a joyous, often hip approach to music. Invincible Nimbus is her second CD with the chord-less Ternion Quartet, whose frontline is made of alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard and trombonist Geoffrey De Masure. Iversen shares the rhythmic responsibility with drummer Roland Schneider.

The new album is exclusively composed of originals that stress the necessity of selflessness and openness to dialogue. Thus, in addition to collective cohesiveness and interaction, we have great individual statements, oftentimes exposed simultaneously as conversational practices. The bandleader points out the studying of fugue-writing techniques, some ideas from Messiaen’s The Technique of My Musical Language, and Slonimsky’s Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns as musical inspirations for this work.

Polychromatic Pictures” opens the session with piquant, angular phrases delivered in unison. The bass installs the groove but the flow is routinely disrupted and altered, only becoming steady when the artistry of De Masure is showcased in virtue of extremely tasteful melodies delivered with an opportune rhythmic sense. A variation of mood, texture, and tempo come off when Eberhard starts to pronounce eloquently what is going on in her mind.

You’ll find an Afro-funk romp stirring up “Dig Your Heels In”, immediately put forth after the insouciant counterpoint between horns and bowed bass that launches it. The structure gives Schneider some mobility from behind the drum kit, with the brassy and groovy qualities of the tune being enhanced along the way.

Functioning within a more straight-ahead framework, the ensemble swings with passion on “Within a Diapason”, having the horns exposing hard-bop-like unisons and then fueling their communication with juxtaposed phrases. The bandleader, also steps forward, soloing with horn interjections around. Another opportunity to engage in dialoguing spontaneity occurs in the last section of “The Invincible Nimbus of Mystery”, which starts out as a languorous chamber exercise propelled by thoughtful brushwork and earnest arco bass, but concludes otherwise.

Whereas “Four Snakes” favors breezy tones, later acquiring a more intense swinging drive, “Ionian Steps” resembles a folk-jazz dance impregnated with rhythmic figures in counterpoint. After blowing a number of agitated phrases, the saxophonist claims some quiet moments for herself, a methodology followed by the trombonist, who infuses some Eastern sounds in his vocabulary while sole percussive subtleties keep running in the back.

Iversen’s material is pretty interesting, denoting a fetching avant-jazz air capable to please even those interested in trailing more traditional paths.

Grade  B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Polychromatic Pictures ► 05 - Dig Your Heels In ► 09 - Ionian Steps


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-round-trip

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