The Quintet is the unexpected meeting of two generations of adventurous Norwegian jazzmen. First, there was a trio of Young Lions: guitarist Ketil Gutvik, bassist Eivind Opsvik, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. They convinced alto saxophonist Carl Magnus Neumann and double bassist Bjørnar Andresen, two pillars of Nordic free jazz associated with the Svein Finnerud Trio, to join them. The concert took place on this album's namesake date and was recorded by chance, direct to DAT. The performance took the form of a continuous 70-minute piece, with musicians shifting through a number of combinations (solo, duet, trio, up to full quintet). The CD is arbitrarily indexed with a new track starting every ten minutes -- an odd choice that, besides giving an excuse to title tracks "00:00," "10:00," "20:00," and so forth, accomplishes little to help the listener find his or her favorite section. There is a lot happening in this hot free jazz session, from Neumann's opening solo (Jemeel Moondoc, watch out!) to a spirited bass duet and brilliant quintet sections. The group explores a wide range of dynamics and integrates elements of American fire music, British free improv, and Norway's own dreamy, melancholy avant-garde jazz. Nilssen-Love makes beats bounce in many places, breathing new energy into the piece whenever it shows signs of fatigue. Granted, March 28th, 1999 feels a bit monolithic to sit through, but it rewards the effort, if only for the lively last 20 minutes when exhaustion turns into exhilaration.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture