NODS OFF - In the Space Between
TSE - The Sound Ensemble - Inversions

[Einnicken Records,]

Swedish saxophonist Stefan Wistrand seems to have made a name for himself in his native country. These two releases represent the latest in Stefan's musical endeavours. "In the Space Between" is a collaborative effort from Nods Off, a quartet that features Stefan Wistrand on various reeds, Daniel Carlsson on electric guitar, Stefan Larsson on electric bass and percussionist Peter Olsen. Particularly strong are the loud guitar contributions of Daniel Carlsson. His improvisational lines juxtapose the tenor, alto and soprano screeching of Stefan Wistrand. What also struck me about this release is the powerful, heavy-handed drumming of Peter Olsen. His style is one of take-no-prisoners and he often conflicts with the other members of the quartet. If you're looking for a quartet that dabbles in improvisational rock with a punch, Nods Off is a good starting point.

Stefan Wistrand's duo CD with pianist Joakim Simonsson is a much more satisfying affair. "Inversions" classifies this duo as one that has some real unique ideas and a distinctive way of delivering them. Stefan's underplayed and understated playing only emphasizes the beauty of Joakim's delicate piano delivery. As a duo, I hear them doing passages that sound nothing more than a simple recital of the scales. Then again, there are other moments when you think these two are joined at the head. You hear that these two musicians have obviously played with one another a good number of times.

I hear a lot of tenderness and a good amount of delicacy as both players seemed to be in a highly relaxed mode that day in January 2004 when this session was put down to tape. Based on "Inversions", I'm anticipating lots more great music from this duo in years to come.

- Tom Sekowski

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