Within the unlimited expressive options that are available to a jazz quartet composed of a piano, double bass, drums and saxophone, the one CAM JAZZ is featuring in Northbound is, of course, among the most intriguing. Tuomo Uusitalo on piano, Myles Sloniker on bass, Olavi Louhivuori on drums and Seamus Blake on sax are taking the language of jazz to a new, surprising, ethereal, though still tangible and earthly, level. Two Finns, an American and an Englishman, all young, multi-award winning talents, are always searching for introspective moods by maneuvering discords into a parallel harmony: no screeching, but rather a new glory consisting of free interaction with an essential, effective, exact design, which arises from ongoing, fruitful balancing. Where the voicing or melodic theme of a track is simpler than others’, its rhythm will be amazingly fragmented, as in Song for Mr. Moorhead. A wide-ranging, almost overloaded, harmonic palette results in a soft, impalpable performance, as in Quietus that carries you into a “different” sonic world. Instruments swap roles, as if they are taking turns at driving during a journey whose destination is probably unknown or undetermined or not essential: it’s the route, rather dreamy, that matters. And so you will float, as in Gomez Palacio, or get excited by the fiery sax in three-four time in Pablo’s Insomnia. You will find adrenalin-charged moments, as in Burst. And a closing track to listen to either with headphones, at full blast, or unrestrained, facing the sea: solemn, peaceful, almost like a hymn, which combines with disarmingly fine contrasts along the way…The Aisle marks the end of the route, but also acts as a new starting point: indeed, you will realize that, at each listening session, Northbound discloses something novel that you had missed before, no one knows why.
Recorded in Astoria, NY on 7 - 8 September 2016 at The Samurai Hotel Recording Studio
Recording engineer Pete Karam
Photos by John Abbott
Liner notes by Brian Morton