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Torben Waldorff: Wah-Wah

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Eschewing his usual saxophone partners, Wah-Wah finds Danish guitarist-composer Torben Waldorff leading an American band (keyboardist Gary Versace, bassist Matt Clohesy, drummer Jon Wikan) that’s long on melody but also on texture and atmosphere. Only the fast waltz “Ginga” and trudging, organ-driven “Poolside” feel like straightahead jazz. The other tunes, even the swingers (“You Here,” “Evac”), skew closer to Americana soundscapes-stark, pastoral, filled with the pitch bends and echo of prairie and Western folk traditions (all the more impressive from a European artist). The closer, “Country and Fish,” is full-on Texas country, Versace providing just enough organ to create an eerie, windswept ambiance (though his solo seems transplanted from ’70s R&B, an odd juxtaposition that somehow works). Without saxophone, Waldorff’s vision is in sharper focus.

Originally Published