Top positive review
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The finest of Norway's jazz vanguard
on 15 April 2003
After a few years grooving to the likes of Nils Petter Molvaer and Bugge Wesseltoft, a friend from Norway turned me on to Jaga Jazzist shortly before the UK release of this, their debut album. Looking back, one has to wonder why it took nearly two years for this Jazz classic to cross the North Sea in order to search out UK audiences.
The comparisons that have been made between the Jazzists and bands such Tortoise and Squarepusher are to be considered. But these comparisons pale once the album is listened to, and, in order for one to be fully immersed by the inspired eclecticism that is on offer here, listened to again. Unlike a lot of the "jazz-by-numbers" sampladelica that masquerades as the (nu) jazz scene these days, the 10-strong Jaga Jazzist tip their hats to their antecedents while putting together exquisite, highly melodic material of their own. And, although they remain on the right side of experimental, their tunes are, for the most part, upbeat and buoyant, which is an outlook often foregone by leftfield artists in the quest for idiosyncratic modes of expression. Made for radio? Maybe. But you won't find this on any breakfast show.
Having had the good fortune to see this band give an impassioned live performance earlier this year, I would recommend that any prospective purchaser snaps this album up immediately, and awaits new releases with baited breath, as this is a band with a long and exciting career ahead of them.