If we were in the seventies and a release like this – a triple CD – crossed our way, we would think that progressive rock was receiving its most ambitious conceptual album ever, but no. The year is 2017 and “Live in Europe” is something else entirely: a celebration of improvised music in its purest form, recorded in concert – as it should.
Gard Nilssen’s trio Acoustic Unity played in the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival and the Oslo Jazz Festival in 2016 and the entirety of those performances were documented. Only in the first vinyll we find the triangle formed by the drummer with André Roligheten and Petter Eldh. The second has the contributions of Fredrik Ljungkvist and the third of Kristoffer Alberts and Jørgen Mathisen. The effect, anyhow, is very similar: this is a very special edition, and it has the same impact in the present creative jazz scene that it would have 40 years ago if it was something coming from King Crimson or Frank Zappa.
The importance of this group in instantaneous composition with jazz as its foundation is equivalent. Nilssen’s enthusiasm on the liner notes is very clear: this is «one of the best bands I’ve ever been a part of by far». Why? Because these musicians are re-inventing melody and rhythm while improvising, and that’s not a common task.
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