The first ECM album in nine years by Norwegian pianist/composer/arranger Jon Balke and his “orchestra”, now streamlined to a septet of top-flight Scandinavian soloists. “Kyanos” is Greek for “blue”, and the album pulsates with intense colour. Balke has developed into an exceptionally skilled arranger and his blending of textures as well as his strong melodic sense are to the fore in this striking and arresting album. Like Duke Ellington or Gil Evans before him, Balke writes with the idiosyncratic sounds and personalities of his musicians in mind, and makes the fullest use of the resources available to him. He still understands jazz as “the sound of surprise”, and his melodies take unexpected turns.