Scorch Trio


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This the second release from the trio of Raoul Björkenheim, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love (the first came out billed to their individual names and was titled Scorch Trio). Luggumt was recorded two years later (January 2004) at the same studio, with the same engineer. Understandably, it sounds pretty close to the first one, although the music is not as scorching this time; there is more room to breathe, and a higher percentage of quiet(ish) passages, including the delicate drums/bass duet "Snaekje Rojnd Naevinj." Björkenheim is in very fine shape, switching from Hendrixian anthemic playing in the title track to Mahavishnu Orchestra-era McLaughlin speed-fusion in "Kjøle Høle," the high-octane number of the set. That 15-minute chunk alone is worth the price of admission, with its sizzling guitar lines and thunderous rhythm section. Flaten and Nilssen-Love seem to grow tighter every year and their performances here exemplify the fact that they have become one of the most exciting free jazz rhythm sections this side of William Parker and Hamid Drake (except that Parker doesn't whip out an electric bass whenever things get hotter than hot). "Synnja Vegga" and "Brennj Fynnj" attempt a balance at energy and introspection with mixed results, but they contain enough strong moments to help forget the few pointless minutes split between the two. The title track, after its slow-burning debut, takes off in a deliberate attempt to top the opening "Kjøle Høle" -- and comes close to succeeding. The strength of this trio resides in the ability of all three musicians to freely experiment and fall back on fusion jazz positions in a seamless way, and they do it better here than on their first album.

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