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Christian Wallumrod Ensemble: Fabula Suite Lugano

Album Reviews:

Down Beat (p.54) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he pieces work because the various traditions are all treated with respect, even when they're deliciously subverted."

JazzTimes (p.83) - "Though primarily serious and probing in musical temperament, Wallumrod also courts sonic sensuality and subtle Nordic humor along the way."

Album Notes

Where the typical ECM continental European chamber sound has been associated with Norwegian pianist Christian Wallumrod, Fabula Suite Lugano adds a new, expansive flavor to what might be expected. This rather ambitious program features a core ensemble, but the sounds are bigger or smaller depending on the inspiration or thematic concept. At the center of many tracks is the violin and viola of Gjermund Larsen and cellist Tanja Orning, but the Baroque harp, as played by Giovanna Pessi, adds more bright colors, while the lone horn (trumpet) of Eivind Lonnig completes the cycle of mystery to this spatial, in-the-main haunting music. The contradiction of the title "Solemn Mosquitos" perfectly reflects the juxtapositions of the buzzing strings and Wallumrod's chiming, resonant piano, with "Dancing Deputies" played in similar, but more kinetic fashion. There's a bit of dirge funk, symphonic lushness, and introspective, spatial music heard throughout, with a slithering quality during "Snake," the clear inferences of "Pling," and Celtic references during "Jumpa," or the dirge funk "Jumpa #2" offering variations. The band also makes way for a drum solo, lead trumpet or harp, and solo piano from the leader so the listener cannot peg the entire ensemble playing together at any one or sustained time. It's another of the many beautiful music excursions produced by Manfred Eicher, and a quite different project for Wallumrod in his relatively burgeoning discography. ~ Michael G. Nastos


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