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October 2005

Christian Wallumrod Ensemble
A Year From Easter
ECM Records

A Rune Grammofon title in all but name, Norwegian pianist Christian Wallumrod's third disc as a leader, the slow-moving A Year From Easter, boasts a backing band that is closely associated with the genre-disrespecting label. Hardanger fiddle player Nils Okland has recorded two jazz-folk discs for the Oslo-based indie, the most recent of which, Bris, features the drumming of fellow Ensemble member Per Oddvar Johansen. Trumpeter Arve Henriksen also has two Rune releases and works with the label's electronics-improv group Supersilent. And even ECMer Wallumrod is related via blood: The pianist's sister fronts Susanna & the Magical Orchestra, a Bjork-jazz duo that released its Rune debut last year. More important, though, Easter just sounds a heckuva lot like something Kristoffersen would put out: Wallumrod's John Cage- and Paul Bley-influenced Ensemble blends classical, jazz and folk elements together to icy effect, betraying little preference for any idiom in particular. If Easter verges on being too austere and seldom swings, it is also never less than fascinating-a worthy addition to the current Norwegian renaissance.

Originally published in October 2005
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