Somnambule - Writing About Music

Arild Andersen ~Electra

Arild Andersen is a veteran of George Russell’s teaching in the 1960s, Jan Garbarek’s seminal Afric Pepperbird and a multiplicity of subsequent recordings. Electra is his response to Greek theatre director Yannis Margaritis’s request for music to accompany a staging of Sophocles’ 2000 year old tragedy. There’s a feeling of wonder to much of the enterprise: Whispers glitters like frosty breath over Andersen’s rapidly ascending bass and percussion sparkles like unexpected snow. The two stars here are the leader whose authoritative, sympathetic playing is located at the heart of proceedings and Arve Henriksen whose breadth of expression on trumpet is astonishing. The success of the project may be attributed to the sympathy between the narrative’s tragic focus and the sense of mournful fatefulness found in much Norwegian music. Ultimately, the marriage of contemporary sounds and rhythms and Greek chorus, which lays its laments like a whisper upon the contemporary arrangements, is both thrilling and haunting.
Colin Buttimer
April 2005
Published by Jazzwise magazine