Mats Eilertsen: Turanga

Mats Eilertsen has appeared in this column almost as many times as Thomas Stronen. The busy bassist finally steps out on his own as a leader with Turanga (AIM)-and naturally, Stronen’s drums are in tow, along with Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and Swedish reedist Fredrik Ljungkvist. The abstract, group-composed tracks “Ambush,” “Monsoon,” “The Trade” and the title-track, as well as the pizzicato-heavy bass-cello duet “Gamelange,” hold less interest to me than the six cuts that Eilersten wrote on his own, particularly “Sukha,” which has the sort of warm, smart harmonies and rich ensemble passages that must be drilled into the students at Norwegian music schools, and the sparse, obviously Middle Eastern-tinged “Oasis,” which is just that.