Marius Neset

The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool
26th April 2013

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

As they almost apologetically trouped onto the stage there was little indication of just how compulsive a set Marius Neset and his backing support were about to unleash on a disappointingly third-full auditorium.

Neset has donned the mantle of rising young European newcomer in the world of experimental jazz; either as soloist or, like tonight, in quartet mode. Arch exponent of both alto and tenor saxophone he learnt his trade under Django Bates' tutelage in Copenhagen and is now being hailed as the successor to Jan Garbarek in his native Norway. He was supported here by pianist Ivo Neame, drummer Anton Eger and bass player Jasper Hoiby, all ably proficient and accomplished players in their own right.

Following on from the much praised Gold Explosion( 2011) this was to be a showcase for their recent album Bird, out in the UK in March. The music spoke for itself as the pieces came and went with mesmerising rapidity with mood changes reflecting a range from minimalist through to expansive in this engrossing concert.

Allusions have been made in Neset's musical output to Charles Ives, Steve Reich and of course Bates. The wall of sound in the title track compares with Ives' stentorian fusion while the introduction to Sacred Universe meditatively echoes Reich, before building to a strutting beat, expansive drums, wailing sax and demonic bass, encompassing all three. Fanfare is troll music for hyper sax. Deep throaty gouts of sound, at times an abstract algebra of complicated structures, contrasted with sublime harmonies giving way to melifluous sonority.

In the end a gripping night of contrapuntal bass, manic drumming and sophisticated piano tropes added to the mix but it was Neset who hogged the boards and stole the show.

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