Sigurdur Flosason DeLux 4Tet

Here And Now

Price: € 14.95
Format: CD
Label: Double Moon Records
UPC: 0608917136029
Catnr: DMCHR 71360
Release date: 08 February 2019
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Label
Double Moon Records
UPC
0608917136029
Catalogue number
DMCHR 71360
Release date
08 February 2019

"The jazz we hear on this album has an expressive and improvising character."

Jazzenzo, 26-1-2019
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Artist(s)
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About the album

It is worth checking some common clichés to see if they are still currently valid. We thought until now that jazz was mainly American black music, preferably played in the dark basements of Manhattan. Iceland is considered the land of volcanoes, geysers, elves and Björk's homeland. And Luxembourg is supposed to be no more than a tax haven. There have been virtually no points of contact between these three terms until now. But thankfully no one cares about such traditional ways of thinking in 2019. Jazz has long since expanded its dense network around the globe, and there is a vital scene of this genre in Iceland with an excellent education system and many good musicians who sometimes find the perfect partners to realize their musical ideals even in Luxembourg.

The smallest and largest common denominator between all the poles is Sigurður Flosason, who plays saxophone, comes from Iceland, is considered one of the most renowned instrumentalists in the small country and — together with the excellent trio around the Luxembourg pianist Michel Reis (Marc Demuth, Bass; Jeff Herr, Drums) — positions himself impressively and precisely in the present: “Here and Now”. They call themselves the “DeLux 4Tet”. In fact, the group with a common destiny harmonizes beautifully together, lets its ideas flow into each other, grants itself all the room and all the time of the world and never sounds like the band of a saxophonist – although this would certainly have deserved the undivided attention of a listener with such an inclination.

This is because Flosason combines the rhapsodic elegance of a Wayne Shorter with the expressiveness of a John Coltrane without creating the suspicion of being a mere copyist. And above all, he avoids one thing: sounding Nordic (again such a cliché!). “We cannot be compared to other Scandinavian scenes such as in Sweden or Norway,” the 54-year-old explained. “There are only 300,000 people living in Iceland. They are very proud of their homeland, but also very interested in everything else that happens in the world.” This explains many things. Flosason is not the only one who began his education at Reykjavik College of Music and then went to America to receive a “higher ordination” there. In his case, he studied at Indiana University where he practiced until graduation — both in jazz and on the classical saxophone — and got a finishing touch from the legendary tenor saxophonist George Coleman. After his return home, Sigurður quickly became one of Iceland's most active jazz musicians. His discography now includes more than 20 CDs with an extremely wide range of own compositions and jazz standards as well as experimental music and improvised solo performances with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Norrbotten Big Band. He also left his traces as conductor of the Reykjavik Big Band and a founding member of the Icelandic Saxophone Quartet.

On “Here And Now”, Sigurður Flosason scatters his ripe, variable, multi-faceted tone discreetly but unmistakably into the arrangements. In addition, his compositional talents can be admired on pieces such as “Counting Sheep”, “Father Of Light” and “Forty-Nine”. The other members of the DeLux 4Tet also contributed their own compositions. Michel Reis is responsible for the title song “Stanley Park” and “Thank You Letter”, Marc Demuth composed “Dante”, and Jeff Herr's piece is adorned with the title “Moonglow”. As a result, the four constantly shape new platforms for their vital stories, which captivate and touch without words, attract attention and yet completely renounce effects, tricks and games of force, simply eliminate the definition and style limits and nevertheless provide a reflection of what Jazz 2019 is supposed to be: A prejudice-free art form that has long since been redefined and bears the individual handwriting of the respective protagonists.
Es lohnt sich, einige der gängigen Klischees bezüglich ihrer Aktualität zu überprüfen. Jazz, so dachten wir bisher, ist vor allem amerikanische, schwarze Musik, bevorzugt gespielt in den dunklen Kellern von Manhattan. Island gilt als das Land der Vulkane, Geysire, Elfen sowie als Heimat von Björk. Und Luxemburg soll angeblich nicht mehr als eine Steueroase sein. Zwischen diesen drei Begriffen existierten bislang so gut wie keine Schnittmengen. Aber gottlob schert sich im Jahr 2019 niemand mehr um solche überlieferten Denkweisen. Der Jazz hat längst sein dichtes Netz rund um den Globus gespannt, in Island gibt es eine vitale Szene dieses Genres mit einem exzellenten Ausbildungssystem und vielen guten Musikern, die manchmal sogar in Luxemburg die perfekten Partner zur Verwirklichung ihrer musikalischen Ideale finden.

Der kleinste und größte gemeinsame Nenner zwischen all den Polen heißt Sigurður Flosason, spielt Saxofon, stammt eben aus jenem Island, gilt als einer der renommiertesten Instrumentalisten des kleinen Landes und formuliert zusammen mit dem exzellenten Trio um den luxemburgischen Pianisten Michel Reis (Marc Demuth, Bass; Jeff Herr, Drums) eine eindrucksvolle Positionsbestimmung, die ihn genau in der Gegenwart verortet: „Here And Now“. Sie nennen sich das „DeLux 4Tet“. In der Tat harmoniert die Schicksalsgemeinschaft prächtig miteinander, lässt ihre Ideen ineinanderfließen, gewährt sich jeden Raum und alle Zeit der Welt und klingt nie wie die Band eines Saxofonisten – obwohl dieser durchaus die ungeteilte Aufmerksamkeit des geneigten Hörers verdient hätte.

Denn Flosason vereint die rhapsodische Eleganz eines Wayne Shorter mit der Expressivität eines John Coltrane, ohne dabei in den Verdacht des bloßen Kopisten zu geraten. Und vor allem vermeidet er eines: nordisch zu klingen (wieder so ein Klischee!). „Man kann uns nicht mit anderen skandinavischen Szenen wie in Schweden oder Norwegen vergleichen“, stellt der 54-Jährige klar. „In Island leben gerade mal 300 000 Menschen. Sie sind sehr stolz auf ihre Heimat, aber auch sehr interessiert an allem, was sonst noch so in der Welt passiert.“ Dies erklärt so manches. Flosason ist nicht der Einzige, der seine Ausbildung am Reykjavik College of Music begann, um dann nach Amerika zu gehen und dort die „höheren Weihen“ zu empfangen. Im seinem Fall gab es diese an der Indiana University, wo er sich bis zum Master-Abschluss vorarbeitete – sowohl im Jazz wie auch auf dem klassischen Saxofon – und bei dem legendären Tenorsaxofonisten George Coleman den Feinschliff besorgen ließ. Nach seiner Rückkehr mauserte sich Sigurður rasch zu einem der aktivsten Jazzmusiker Islands. Seine Diskografie umfasst mittlerweile über 20 CDs mit einer extrem großen Bandbreite von eigenen Kompositionen und Jazzstandards bis hin zu experimenteller Musik und improvisierten Soloauftritten mit dem Icelandic Symphony Orchestra sowie der Swedish Norrbotten Big Band. Darüber hinaus hinterließ er als Dirigent der Reykjavik Big Band und als Gründungsmitglied des Icelandic Saxophone Quartetts bleibende Spuren.

Auf „Here And Now“ streut Sigurður Flosason seinen reifen, variablen, facettenreichen Ton dezent, aber unüberhörbar in die Arrangements. Außerdem gibt es noch seine kompositorischen Talente mit Stücken wie „Counting Sheep“, „Father Of Light“ und „Forty-Nine“ zu bestaunen. Auch die anderen Mitglieder des DeLux 4Tets steuern jeweils eigene Werke bei. Michel Reis zeichnet für das Titelstück, „Stanley Park“ sowie „Thank You Letter“ verantwortlich, Marc Demuth schrieb „Dante“, und Jeff Herrs Anteil schmückt sich mit dem Titel „Moonglow“. So zimmern die vier immer wieder neue Plattformen für ihre vitalen Geschichten, die ohne Worte fesseln und berühren, die Aufmerksamkeit wecken und dennoch komplett auf Effekte, Tricks und Muskelspiele verzichten, die Definitions- und Stilgrenzen einfach aushebeln und trotzdem ein Spiegelbild dessen abgeben, was Jazz 2019 sein soll: eine vorurteilsfreie Kunstform, die sich längst neu definiert und die individuelle Handschrift der jeweiligen Protagonisten trägt.

Artist(s)

Icelandic saxophonist Sigurdur Flosason started playing jazz as a teenager and attracted attention in his home country early on. He studied at The Reykjavik College of Music and graduated in 1983 with a Performance Diploma in classical saxophone. Further studies at Indiana University in the U.S. where he earned a Bachelor's degree in 1986 and a Master’s degree in 1988, in both jazz studies and classical saxophone. At Indiana he studied with jazz education guru David Baker and leading classical saxophonist Eugene Rousseau. Sigurdur continued his studies with George Coleman in New York during the winter 1988-89.

After returning home in1989, Sigurdur emerged as one of Iceland’s most active jazz musicians, performing frequently at home and abroad. He has recorded over 20 CDs with a wide variety of jazz music; everything from his own compositions and jazz standards to experimental music and improvisational solo performances with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Norrbotten Big Band. Sigurdur is a driving force and frequent conductor of the Reykjavik Big Band and a founding member of the Icelandic Saxophone Quartet. He has performed in all the Scandinavian countries, the US, Canada, Japan, China, Thailand and various European countries.

Sigurdur has been much involved and influential in music education in Iceland. Since 1989 he has been head of the jazz department at the F.I.H School of Music, Iceland’s leading jazz school. He has given numerous courses, clinics and workshops in Iceland and abroad, as well as working extensively for the Icelandic ministry of education on curriculum for Icelandic music schools. Furthermore, he has been instrumental in promoting jazz music in Iceland by organizing concert series and festivals. He is vice chairman of FTT the Icelandic Association of Composer’s of Popular Music and Jazz. He’s also on the board of STEF, the Icelandic Composer’s Rights Association.

Sigurdur Flosason won 1st price in the American Hoagy Carmichael composition competition in 1987 and was a finalist in Europe Jazz Contest 1990. He was nominated for the Nordic Council’s music price in 2000 and 2003 and is a five times winner of the Icelandic Music Awards. He was also nominated for the Danish music awards in 2011 for a recording with Danish singer Cathrine Legardh. Sigurdur Flosason was City Artist of Gardabaer, Iceland in 2005. In recent years Sigurdur has become increasingly active in Denmark. He has released three CDs for the Danish Storyville label.: “Land&Sky” (2011), a double CD and compositional cooperation with singer Cathrine Legardh. “Nightfall” (2012), a CD of lyrical standards with Hammond organist Kjeld Lauritsen, Jacob Fischer on guitar and Kristian Leth on drums. His most recent effort is “The eleventh hour” (2013), a CD of his own compositions with his Copenhagen Quartet featuring Nikolaj Hess on piano, Lennart Ginman on bass and Morten Lund on drums.

Press

The jazz we hear on this album has an expressive and improvising character.
Jazzenzo, 26-1-2019

They are all songs that slowly develop into a sharp scan of each other by the soloists to end in a harmonious whole with as perfect example the last song with the appropriate title "Thank you letter" by Michel Reis.
Rootstime, 08-1-2019

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