Norwegian drummer/composer Thomas Strønen presents a revised edition of his acoustic collective Time Is A Blind Guide, now trimmed to quintet size, and with a new pianist in Wakayama-born Ayumi Tanaka. Tanaka has spoken of seeking associative connections between Japan and Norway in her improvising, a tendency Strønen seems to be encouraging with his space-conscious writing for the ensemble, letting in more light.
Time Is A Blind Guide is both the title of Thomas Strønen’s album and the name of his new Norwegian-British ensemble. In contrast to Food and its electronic soundscapes, TIABG is an all-acoustic group which plays what its drummer-leader-composer calls “melodic music with a twist.” Its melodies unfurl sinuously over shifting rhythmic patterns. The band was built to include a number of overlapping musical sub-groups.
Ayumi Tanaka – piano, Håkon Aase – violin/ perc, Leo Sander – cello, Ole Morten Vågan – bass, Thomas Strønen – drums/perc.
Lucus, the second recording from Time Is A Blind Guide, marks a bold step forward from the critically acclaimed debut (described by All About Jazz as “a stunning record that stands out as one of Stronen’s most expansive, cinematic and flat-out lyrical albums”) and has a heightened emphasis on improvisation.
Whether you listen on CD or vinyl, ‘Lucus’ is an impressive balance of fragile beauty with moments of sadness and power. ECM continues to release music that asks jazz fans to broaden their definitions of the music. Joseph Taylor, Soundstage Ultra (Recording of the Month).
– We’ve played much more,” says Strønen, “and built up a trust in the ensemble. All the players have more confidence in the shared expression of the group and, in a positive sense, less dependency on the compositions, which are offered, really, as guidelines. To me it’s important that the players should feel connected to the music and play what’s right for them.