Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s big band Large Unit returns with its third album, following the monster multi-disc statement “Erta Ale” in 2014 and last year’s “ANA” (which incorporated an expanded line-up of Brazilian musicians/influences). “Fluku” finds the band scaled down to its 12-member core, and can perhaps be seen as the first “regular” Large Unit album, although there is never anything regular about this constantly evolving band.
“Fluku” was recorded in Oslo in 2016, and unlike “ANA”, which was recorded in the middle of a frenzied year of extensive touring (as documented in the “2015” tour photo-book/2CD set), this is a document of a band confident in themselves, with members not just following the band leader’s guidance, but as also letting their individual voices contribute to the whole. New to the line-up is sax player Kristoffer Berre Alberts, expanding and giving the band a more present front section.
The album’s centerpiece is the 26-minute long opening title track, which shows a new side of Nilssen-Love as a composer, working with orchestrating and voicing of chords in a way that will surprise those who have followed the band from the beginning. The track will also become a benchmark for guitarist Ketil Gutvik, who displays an impressive range, with traces of both Sharrock and McLaughlin in his playing. Another standout is the track “Springsummer”, which could almost be called a ballad.
“Fluku” shows that Large Unit isn’t a short-lived big band vanity project. Large Unit is a band that’s here to stay, and they’ve got a lot more up their sleeves.
released October 13, 2017
Julie Kjær - alto saxophone, flute
Klaus Ellerhusen Holm - Bb clarinet, alto and baritone saxophone
Kristoffer Berre Alberts - alto and tenor saxophone
Thomas Johansson - trumpet
Mats Äleklint - trombone
Per Åke Holmlander - tuba
Ketil Gutvik - electric guitar
Tommi Keränen - electronics
Jon Rune Strøm - electric and double bass
Christian Meaas Svendsen - electric and double bass
Andreas Wildhagen - drums and percussion
Paal Nilssen-Love - drums and percussion
Christian Brynildsen Obermayer - live sound
Recorded 8th of April 2016 at Victoria, Nasjonal Jazzscene, Oslo.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Christian Brynildsen Obermayer.
Photo by Petra Cvelbar. Cover art by Lasse Marhaug.
All music by Paal Nilssen-Love (TONO/Cien Fuegos).
Thanks to Fond for Lyd og Bilde for supporting this production.
Thanks also to Nasjonal Jazzscene, Arts Council Norway, Norsk Jazzforum, Music Norway and Fund for Performing Artists.
I really appreciate that with such a large group of musicians the overall sound and experience of listening is really spacious, never cluttered. The lovely recording helps that a lot, and of course the compositional aspects that make it breathe are superb- it gets more and more fun as I listen again and again. Jasper Skydecker