While many jazz fans (I included) were bestowing high praise on Kamasi Washington’s fantastic triple album The Epic. Norwegian saxophonist and composer Mette Henriette Rølvåg released her fiercely inventive and captivating untitled debut that is packed full of songs that really show off her depth and knack for churning out gorgeous sounds. The untitled ECM double-album debut of young Norwegian saxophonist, composer and improviser Mette Henriette Martedatter Rølvåg is an arrestingly original musical statement. ‘Jazz’ players and ‘classical’ players are drawn together in her ensembles, but the music shapes its own world, outside genre definitions.
Mette Henriette is interlacing form and freedom in fresh ways here, as her intense and focused tenor saxophone sound moves inside compositions of sometimes disarming fragility.
In this music, a vulnerability can be as potent a force as full-tilt blowing, but there is a place for both. The recording’s expressive and emotional range is wide. Disc one here features trio music with Mette Henriette, pianist Johan Lindvall and cellist Katrine Schiøtt. Disc two has Mette’s “sinfonietta” with thirteen players. The line-up of the larger group includes some names familiar to ECM listeners – trumpeter Eivind Lønning, drummer Per Oddvar Johansen, and the members of the Cikada Quartet – all pooling creative energies to serve Mette’s music. A sharp, forward-thinking jazz record, that may not be for everyone, but sit with it – it’s well worth it.