Eivind Opsvik

Overseas, Vol. 4

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Eivind Opsvik is known as a jazz bassist, but Overseas, Vol. 4 (like the others in the series) is perhaps closer to soundtrack music than traditional jazz. He seems to be more interested in creating a mood than a lasting melody. To this end, he assembled a very sympathetic band (Tony Malaby/sax, Brandon Seabrook/guitar and mandolin, Jacob Sacks/harpsichord, piano, Farfisa, and Kenny Wollesen/drums, percussion, etc) that really understands what Opsvik is going for. The album starts with a piece that almost sounds like some kind of classical processional with its timpani and harpsichord. The opening pieces favor long tones and lots of space. Kenny Wollesen is one of the tastiest and most musical drummers out there and a real asset to Opsvik's compositions. "1786" starts slowly with just Wollesen. Sacks joins on harpsichord for a while but switches to piano when things start to pick up. The drums become more insistent as Opsvik joins with a great bass ostinato. Malaby enters and turns in a killer solo over the groove, eventually joined by Seabrook. It's a stunning piece. The bowed bass and harpsichord of "Silkweavers' Song" again evokes classical music, as does "Men on Horses." Then they decide to rock out a bit. "Robbers and Fairground Folk" has Seabrook wailing over Malaby's sax riffing. "Michelle Marie" and "Nineteen to the Dozen" give Seabrook a bit more room to stretch out. After that, things take a turn back toward the cinematic (and slightly ominous) with "Det Kalde Havet" and finish up with some chain-gang call-and-response between bass and guitar. The prominent harpsichord helps make Overseas, Vol. 4 a unique-sounding album that's also an unqualified success thanks to Opsvik's vision and a great band.

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