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Marius Nordal: Boomer Jazz

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Solo piano is the ultimate challenge: you’re all alone, excerpt for those 88 keys flashing their ivories. No other horn waiting to pick up the melodic slack, no additional rhythm guys keeping time. Yet solo piano is a mixed blessing. You assume full responsibility to call the shots: you set the metronome, fall back on rubato whenever the mood strikes, and re-harmonize all over the keyboard without feeling guilty. Final interpretation is up to you.

Apparently Marius Nordal thrives on facing challenges and luxuriating in the blessings. His third release for Origin finds him mostly staying within bar lines, extemporizing at will, happily and nostalgically. He tackles material he grew up with, tunes most of his jazz contemporaries try to avoid because, as Jimmy Rowles often complained, “they just don’t lay well.” No sexual innuendoes there; it’s a given that Boomers flourished in an era when many lines (again quoting Rowles) “sound like 3rd alto parts.”

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