is labeled jazz, it easily fits in with the tradition of female folksingers
ranging from the Mallorcan legend Maria Del Mar Bonet to the British June
Tabor, especially in Sinikka Langland's vocal timbre. The opening tune, "Autumn
Night In The Mountain Woods," played against a 39-string kantele, with
its dulcimer-like sound, sounds as if it could just as easily be on Topic
as on ECM. What makes it an ECM-jazz disc is the Scandinavian sound of the
trumpet/sax/bass/percussion which accompanies most tracks, but this too is
partly sonic stereotyping, for their interplay is nearly as fine as the musicians
of Pentangle were for Jacqui McShee. Only sometimes are they given arrangements
assuming an orchestral surge.
If I may copy
one paragraph from the press release, Langeland, of Finnish-Norwegian background,
feels, "One of the central issues of working with jazz musicians as opposed
to traditional folk musicians is the different feeling for time. The pulsations
of the old folk music, the organic, breathing, asymmetric rhythms that we
have in the polskas are quite different from modern popular music which is
nearly all in 2 or 4. So a lot of adjustment is necessary. Anders Jormin is
very aware of this, and Markku Ounaskari is coming closer and closer to the
true pulsations of the polskas, remarkably close for a jazz player. But at
the same time I want to allow myself to be influenced by his way of hearing
and feeling the music."
includes the sung texts, all of them poems of Norwegian poet Hans Borli, with
English translations. They are quite touching in a folky, woodsy way. One
could just as easily listen without texts just to Langeland's phrasing, as
expressive as the finest lieder singer, and the mood would be enough to satisfy.
I am grateful to ECM for bringing a singer this hauntingly beautiful musician
into our lives.