“This album marks a new phase,” says Marius Neset. “It was the last thing I did in Copenhagen, which has been my life for the past seventeen years.” In late 2019 the saxophonist and composer moved from the Danish capital to return to his native Norway. In “Tributes”, recorded shortly before he left, he marks this point of transition with music that has astonishing freshness – and unmistakably vivid feelings of joy and fulfilment.
The Norwegian saxophonist was already making his mark while still a student at the beginning of those Copenhagen years. This was a player of “hurtling virtuosity” (Guardian) for whom there seemed to be no technical barriers on the instrument, and his star has continued to rise ever since. In 2016 he was included in Downbeat magazine’s list of "25 for the Future", the first time a musician based in Europe had received this accolade. More recently his prowess as a composer has also been to the fore. Neset has the skill and the focus to conceive and build extensive musical structures from simple ideas. “Tributes” is indeed conceived as a continuous sequence. His music is nonetheless always full of incident, surprises and excitement. Having written substantial works for chamber orchestras, this collaboration with the DR Big Band has a different, and arguably more natural feel to it. As Neset says: “Working with jazz musicians again, it’s more like my home. I know these musicians well from my time in Copenhagen, and I wanted to get back to the joy of playing, to the feeling of each player having freedom.”
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