Stunt Records / Sundance Music Ltd.
Norwegian drummer Snorre Kirk leads a truly Scandinavian band (Klas Lindquist on alto sax and clarinet and Tobias Wiklund on the cornet are from Sweden, while bassist Lasse Mørck, pianist Magnus Hjorth and tenor sax master Jan Harbeck are from Denmark). And over a handful of albums – and many sessions to the stars – he has established himself as both a very fine band leader and composer.
Here with Beat he showcases a slick, road-tested and tight unit across a range of bop and balladry. He’s also the portrait of restraint even when driving the band as hard as he can, no flashy take-over solos here, just straight-ahead rhythm work, nice light touches with the brushes (18th & Vine) and mallets (Portrait) and some precise hi-hat sticking for colour (Monaco). All very tasteful and tastily performed.
The players around him get plenty of moments to shine – and also, for the most part, play in full support of the songs, sounding wonderful as a unit whether striding out in lovely bop settings (Blues Arabesque) or laying down a sneaky N’awlins bit of balladry (Blues Overture).
Even on the title track – a song called Beat written by a drummer – there’s feature-work from the pianist, horns and a huge walking bass-line as Kirk just lays down softly into a ride cymbal and does his job.
It’s refreshing. And this is good honest modern jazz. Great new songs carved out from a style clearly influenced by Ellington and at just nine songs over 39 minutes this is that rare occasion where I actually wanted more. Fortunately there’s plenty of back-catalogue from these great players that is also well your time and mine.
You can support Off The Tracks via PressPatron