Scorch Trio with Mars Williams – Made In Norway 2xLP (Rune Grammofon)

While literally true – this live record was recorded at gigs in Oslo and Bergen, Norway – the title doesn’t ring quite true. The original Scorch Trio was an all-Scandinavian ensemble, but none of the guys on this double LP get all of their mail in Europe. Drummer Frank Rosaly and multi-reedist Mars Williams are from Chicago, electric guitarist Raoul Björkenheim is a Finn living in New York, and electric bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten may be Norwegian but he lives in Texas. They just have to fly to Norway to put together a string of decent-paying gigs, and how fucked up is that? Pretty fucked, given how effectively this combo combines variants of jazz that usually stand in opposition to each other. Björkenheim deals Mahavishnu-style note-bursts with fluency as well as rapidity; that’s not a style that generally meshes well with darting sopranino lines or hard-blown free tenor phrases, but he and Williams play off of each other in an effective manner. And while one might expect Håker Flaten’s heavy, funk-like lumps to fall right through the then spots in Rosaly’s percussive lattices, they fit right into the pattern. When Rosaly first recorded with this group a couple years ago, they seemed to retrench, but in retrospect it seems like they were pulling back catapult-style. Now they’ve let loose. Vinyl only, 500 copies on white vinyl, and the gatefold cover is so pretty you’ll want to lock it up safely when the dope-cleaners come over. (
(Bill Meyer)

  1. still-single posted this