Knut Riisnæs sax
Anders Aarum piano
Jens Fossum bass
Tom Olstad drums
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 recorded September 26, 2018 by Dag Erik Johansen and Kai Andersen at Atletic Sound, Halden, Norway
Tracks 7, 8, 9 & 10 recorded February 11, 2019 by Vidar Lunden at Musikkloftet, Asker, Norway
Mixed September 2019 by Anders Aarum
Mastered October 2019 by Morten Lund at Lund´s Lyd, Oslo
Produced by Knut Riisnæs and Anders Aarum
This recording is partly supported by Fond for utøvende kunstnere
Front cover photo by Kristian Lie
Inside cover photo by Gorm Valentin
As multi-faceted and hard cutting as diamond, as sweet and layered as gelato Napolitano, The Kernel epitomises all that is great about jazz. It features a group of exceedingly skilled musicians navigating a stimulating repertoire of originals and well-chosen tunes from the classic jazz handbook.
Leader, saxophonist Knut Riisnæs released the highly acclaimed 2nd Thoughts (Losen Records) in 2017. His co-musicians on this recording are the same: Anders Aarum (piano), Jens Fossum (bass) and Tom Olstad (drums). It’s a tight unit – a genuine band of well-gigged virtuosi.
The strikingly produced CD opens with Around The Kernel (Aarum). A delicate, rubato piano opening passage leads to a charmingly stated theme in 3/4 followed by delightfully constructed solos by Anders and Knut.
Living Next Door To Hjallis (Fossum) really swings. Anders takes off on a terrific solo that culminates in an exchange with Tom’s ever-ebullient beat.
La Mesha (Kenny Dorham) is a gorgeous 20-bar format ballad. Jens and Tom support sensitive solos by Anders and Knut with empathic mastery.
Lady Day/West End Blues (Shorter/Riisnæs) opens with Knut’s spellbinding take on Wayne Shorter’s haunting ballad and morphs into a walking blues that swings so hard it makes you smile; a foot-tapping stroll that typifies jazz at its best!
Inner Circle (McKee) is a contemplative waltz with theme stated by Knut and Anders and features an endearing solo by Jens followed by solos from piano and sax.
Reminiscence (Riisnæs) is a fitting platform for Knut’s mastery of his instrument opening with an introspective version of the theme leading to a pulsating Latin feel for the tune’s development and solos.
Midnight Waltz (Walton) is a lively blues in 3/4 with strident solos from Knut, Anders and Jens.
The album lovingly and fittingly closes with Love & Peace (Parlan). It is an exquisite ballad performed by a world-class band, so adroitly led by maestro Riisnæs.