The fifth concert of the Múlinn Jazz series at the Nordic House on Wednesday November 9 featured performances by Magnus Johannessen and Iceland’s New Liberation Orchestra.
It was certainly a concert of two halves. The first centred on the Faroese pianist Magnus Johannessen who provided the tunes with the New Liberation Orchestra playing along. The second, in which Johannessen left and Óskar Guðjónsson joined, was the Liberation Orchestra’s performance proper.
And the first half was decidedly more schmaltzy than the second. There were darker, more discordant moments, but it mainly veered towards a territory in jazz, which just isn’t my thing. The playing was generally excellent, arrangements were interesting and the performance was met with its fair share of head nodding and chin stroking. The small audience that assembled to get their jazz fix certainly seemed to dig it.
However, the second half changed things up. A swirling mass of shifting sands, held together in the main by the bass, all other instruments fly off in all directions, a wash of noise kinda-sorta like Debussy, interesting intriguing interplay in the brass, electronic loops of sounds just made and manipulated kinda-sorta like Mission of Burma, some decidedly Fripp-like chords on guitar spinning out into scattered lead runs, I didn’t need to pay for the whole seat because I only used the edge of it, swelling to a point, dropping down, swirling and whirling until it reaches the final note.
Yeah, the second half was definitely more my sort of thing.
More information on the Múlinn Jazz series and upcoming shows can be found here.