"Bruno stands out: big notes, glowing with life. He is man to watch, and a major presence." John Barrett (JazzUSA)
The rhythmic foundation for Runestones comes from a Norwegian folk tune. The pattern that is played by the Norwegian Jews harp (called “munnharpe”), is adapted by the acoustic bass. This rhythmic pattern is very similar to the bell patterns and polyrhythmic structure found in West African Agbekor drumming.
Jaquemonti Birch opens with Ole playing the bass line on clarinet and the bass playing some soloistic fills on top. We decided to keep this piece very simple and without any extended improvisations in order to make a short statement and keep the essence of the composition. This piece is dedicated to the memory of my mother Märta Råberg.
The naming of Procession came from my imagining people walking in a procession and taking an extra step every third time. The 11/4 (3+3+3+2) bass line is the basis of the composition.
Sculpture II is the second half of a free collective improvisation. As we were recording it we came to a natural stop followed by a couple of seconds silence. I divided the piece there and put the second half first on the CD. The title, Sculpture, refers to how we collectively shape this piece of musical clay.
The two counter lines between clarinet and bass conjure up images of the meeting of intertwined Twin Spirits. They continue in a dance.
Berg Kirsti’s Polska is a traditional Swedish folk tune. The mountain troll Berg-Kirsti supposedly sang this song to lure people into the mountain caves. The meter is 6/4 and Marcello adds an African polyrhythmic flavor to it. We had an arrangement that we recorded several times but it felt too predictable. We decided to be freer with it, so we basically had no arrangement but rather trusted our instincts as to when the melody and the improvisation would take place. It gave the piece a sense of search and suspension. I used a tuned down E-string, an arco drone and some artificial harmonics to enrich the texture.
Sculpture I is the first half of the collective improvisation mentioned earlier.
I wrote Nothing Special back in 1983 for a sax, bass and drums trio that I co-led. It wrote itself in a matter of minutes and I didn’t think much of it at the time, hence the title. I think it was my first two part counterpoint composition. Later while playing it I discovered how only two simple lines can actually create something special.
As part of a series of short pieces for piano Presence was adapted for this setting. This is another two part contrapuntal composition. When the composition was done I extracted the chord changes that the two parts imply, however I did not want to use this chord progression as a basis for improvisation. Instead we let the last part of the melody dissolve into a free collective improvisation where we use motifs from the composition. This gives the piece an overall cohesion even though we don’t follow a particular form, meter or chord progression.
I want to thank Ole and Marcello for exploring this setting with me and I sincerely hope that you’ll enjoy this recording.
|Runestones - 6:20|
|Jaquemonti Birch - 4:50|
|Procession - 9:08|
|Sculpture II - 4:35|
|Twin Spirits - 9:31|
|Berg-Kirsti's Polska - 3:28|
|Nothing Special - 5:41|
|Presence - 5:13|
|Ole Mathisen soprano/tenor sax, clarinet|
Bruno Råberg acoustic bass
Marcello Pellitteri drums
Recorded in Andover MA 1999