Friday 11 November 2022

'It Takes All Kinds To Make A World' by Fredrik Lundin & Odense Jazz Orchestra

'It Takes All Kinds To Make A World' is the brand new album release from Danish saxophonist Fredrik Lundin who aligns with the Odense Jazz Orchestra for this remarkable April Records release.

The bio section of Lundin's website cites the saxophonist, flautist, composer and band leader as an artist "searching relentlessly into the realms of contemporary music, respecting no boundaries" - it's a fascinating depiction of a musician continually striving to create not just outside of the box but to tear the box all the way down and rebuild it from scratch with each new outing.  It's an incredibly visceral approach to music-making which, again, serves as an incredibly apt term for a significant portion of this album.

For existing followers of Lundin's music to date, these are words that more than likely resonate fairly loudly - with music releases since the early-1980s, Lundin can boast having contributed to over forty albums and served as a leader and member of ensembles including Offpiste Gurus, 5 Go Adventuring Again, the MaLuBa Orchestra, the Tone of Voice Orchestra and the Marilyn Mazur Group which really only skims the surface of his contributions to the Danish jazz scene.  A highly-decorated, award-winning and revered artist, Fredrik Lundin sets the standard for what it is to be an artist who strives to create and redefine his own expectations of what jazz can and should be.

And that mindset and has found a kindred spirit in that of the Odense Jazz Orchestra - or more accurately the *eighteen* kindred spirits that comprise the ensemble formerly known as the TipToe BigBand.  Since the band's inception in 1994, the Odense Jazz Orchestra find the same joy that emanates from Lundin when it comes to challenging expectations of the expected Big Band aesthetic along with the thrill of collaboration and sharing of ideas and styles.

It certainly makes for an exciting blank canvas when considering these two factions coming together with the intention of creating in a distinct and unique way.  The album does find its focus however by turning its attention towards matters that impact us all as individuals and as a global community - the last few years have presented everyone with an inconceivable amount of challenges that have sought to divide us politically, racially and environmentally; a worldwide pandemic ground everyday life to a screaming halt; the continual threat of war looms over us... it can all often feel more than we are equipped to handle and 'It Takes All Kinds To Make A World' finds inspired ways to convey and connect with that level of restlessness and unease.

The word visceral was used earlier and while it is an impassioned way to describe Lundin's take on composition, within the context of the music here, it's a word that connects in a different way perhaps best exemplified with the album's opening number 'Desperate Times, Desperate Measures'.  A truly fantastic song that captures that level of almost sinister foreboding incredibly well.  Conversely, there's a thrilling and inescapable hard groove to the album which further adds to the project's overall urgency in its message.  'Now or Never', again, a brilliantly performed track bursting with ideas and influences that seems to contain elements of a 1970's funk record set against that expansive big band sound.

'It Takes All Kinds To Make A World' is an incredible album and a release that would sit proudly amongst both Fredrik Lundin and the Odense Jazz Orchestra's finest works.  Its music serves as a passionate and relevant voice in times where these voices are needed.

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