Arild Andersen/Tommy Smith & Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
In the jazz world, having your celebration of the music associated with ECM Records considered suitable for release by the label itself is a pretty impressive accolade. Inviting the marvellous Norwegian double bass player Arild Andersen, whose association with the label stretches back to some of its earliest releases, to be the featured soloist may have smoothed the way. But while Andersen's playing is as majestic, nimble and big-toned as expected, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra's quality of musicianship and ensemble sound make it an equal partner – at the very least – in this enterprise. The six tracks, all specially arranged, represent ECM classics both widely known and lesser sung. Tommy Smith's magnificent development of Jan Garbarek's plaintive Molde Canticle and Andersen's gorgeous reading of Keith Jarrett's My Song give especially fine examples of the former, while Norwegian saxophonist-composer Trygve Seim's superb re-orchestration of his glorious Ulrikas Dans offers a real treat for newcomers to his and indeed SNJO's work.
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