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The Electrics - Live at Glenn Miller Café

Michael Rosenstein, Signal To Noise

Ayler Records first documented this quartet with Sture Ericson on reeds, Axel Dörner on trumpet, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass, and Raymond Strid on drums during a live set on their first tour back in 2000. This release captures the group five years later during a run at the venerated Glenn Miller Café in Stockholm. In the intervening years, Dörner, Håker Flaten and Strid have gone on to record and perform in a wide variety of contexts (Ericson, a figure from the '80s Swedish jazz scene has still remained elusive based on his scant recorded output.) Like their first outing, this is another free blowing session and it is clear that the four revel in it. While Håker Flaten and Strid are known for this kind of setting, it is a kick to hear Dörner let loose in full free-jazz mode. While many think of him in settings like his trio with John Butcher and Xavier Charles, he's continued to show his passion for jazz-based outings like his recordings with Otomo Yoshihide's New jazz Orchestra or Alex Von Schlippenbach's Monk workouts. Ericson is more of an unfettered firebrand, whether sparring with Dörner or careening over the thundering pulse of the music. Yet he can also drop down to subtle textural abstractions, whispering his clarinet against the quiet shudders and creaks like the start of a piece like "Electroots". Here the four show that they are about more than just brawn and buster, kicking things off with a spare, floating, collective improvisation and slowly ratcheting up the activity level as the piece progresses. On the closing "Electraps", Ericson's bubbling bass clarinet, Dörner's muted trumpet smears, Håker Flaten's scraped arco, and Strid's pin-prick percussion etch out pointillistic interactions that builds with eddies of activity. This is the sort of session that showcases how the Northern Europeans continue to carve out their take on the free jazz tradition.