Daniel Herskedal – The Roc (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 48:14 minutes | 897 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio | Front Cover | © Edition Records Ltd.
Over the last 2 years, Daniel Herskedal, Helge Andreas Norbakken and Eyolf Dale (also on Edition) have defined themselves as one of the most unique and innovative small ensembles in Europe today, bringing together a vast mix of influences from Folk, Jazz, Classical and Arabic music.
The sublime Slow Eastbound Train, released in 2015, took Herskedal’s international profile to new heights. He toured extensively throughout Europe and Japan, culminating in a 26min commission from the BBC Concert Orchestra, performed at London Jazz Festival 2016.
A strong Arabic influence runs throughout The Roc, which has its roots in inspiring trips Herskedal made to Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Themes of place and travelling are ever-present, as they were on Slow Eastbound Train. The titles of some of the compositions originate from the names of scales (Kurd, Bayat, Nahawand To Kurd) and rhythms (Thuraaya) used in them; others from Arabic sayings (There Are Three Things You Cannot Hide; Love, Smoke And A Man Riding On A Camel) and places that inspired the musicians (Hijaz Train Station). The title of the LP itself is a reference to the great bird of pan-Asian mythology.
The Roc is Norwegian tuba player Daniel Herskedal’s follow-up album to his 2015 recording for Edition Records, Slow Eastbound Train which like its predecessor again features Eydolf Dale on piano and Helge Andreas Norbakken on percussion. However, that record also benefitted from the massive Trondheim Soloists chamber string orchestra.
A pastoral beginning with “The Seeds Of Language” belies the nature of the ensuing tracks, things taking a more overtly oriental turn on the title track and beyond. Specifically, there’s a clearly perceptible Arabic influence running through the album, derived from Hersekdal’s travels through Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. These geographically-based motifs are especially evinced by Bergmund Waal Skaslien’s lustrously serpentine viola playing. The titles of many of the tracks reflect the Middle Eastern character of the pieces. Such as “Eternal Sunshine Creates A Desert,” “Kurd Bayat,” “Nahawand To Kurd” and “Hijaz Train Station.”
Although both his albums have a similar quality to them, what is notable here is how Herskedal can obtain such a full sound with just a quintet, as opposed to his previous record using a trio with a full string orchestra. Another praiseworthy element is the lithe richness and versatility of Herskedal’s tuba playing. Whilst his music is generically not in the same ball park as that of other, more obviously jazz inspired tuba players such as Bob Stewart and Howard Johnson, he shares the same ability as those tuba pioneers to push the instrument to the fore and utilise the skill of subtle improvisation within the context of notated composition.
A mesmerizingly dramatic soundscape is manifested by the rich strings of Bergmund Waal Skaslien and Svante Henryson on the quirkily titled “There Are Three Things You Cannot Hide: Love, Smoke And A Man Riding On A Camel.” Equally entrancing is Eyolf Dale’s tintinnabulating piano on “All That Has Happened, Happened As Fate Willed.” Throughout the album, the listener cannot fail to be transported to another place of heat and dust and occasionally, to another dimension entirely. –Roger Farbey, All About Jazz
1. Seeds of Language 04:46
2. The Roc 05:28
3. Eternal Sunshine Creates A Desert 04:18
4. Kurd, Bayat, Nahawand To Kurd 04:46
5. Hijaz Train Station 03:20
6. Thurayya Railways 06:31
7. The Afrit 03:22
8. There Are Three Things You Cannot Hide; Love, Smoke And A Man Riding On A Camel 05:01
9. The Krøderen Line 05:52
10. All That Has Happened, Happened As Fate Willed 04:50
Daniel Herskedal: tuba, bass trumpet
Bergmund Waal Skaslien: viola
Svante Henryson: cello
Eyolf Dale: piano
Helge Andreas Norbakken: percussion