Fredrik Sahlander bass
Bernt Moen piano, keys, synth
Kirk Covington drums
Anders Langset drums track 6 only
Release No: LOS 221-2
All Compositions by Fredrik Sahlander except track 1 by Joe Henderson
All arrangements by Fredrik Sahlander
Recorded May 2014 in Studio A at The University of Agder, Norway
Track 6 is recorded May 2012 in Studio A at The University of Agder, Norway
Mixed and mastered September 2014 by Scott Kinsey, USA
Track 6 is mixed and mastered July 2012 by Roald Råsberg at Sanden Studio AS, Norway
Produced by Fredrik Sahlander
Executive producer Odd Gjelsnes
Supported by Sørnorsk Jazzsenter.
Supported by PMRU at the University of Agder
Front cover photo by gunhild S andersen
Cover design by design holtmann
Digisleeve in the link below:
Download Press Release (PDF)
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The year was 2012 and I had just started my PhD. My research area was jazz improvisation and improvisation methodology. The background for the problem that I wanted to research was myself as a jazz improvisor. Despite many years of studying music focusing on improvisation and an endless amount of practicing, I still had not achieved the level of performance I wanted to be at. Why? Had I been practicing the wrong material? Wasn’t I talented enough or was there something else that had inhibited my progress? The hypothesis was that the improvisation methodology my earlier teachers used had not been optimal for me. To find out about this, I contacted my great idol Gary Willis (Tribal Tech). My intention was to study with Willis for two years and try out his methods of teaching improvisation. In that way documenting a leading jazz improvisors way of teaching improvisation.
Willis was positive to the project and I traveled to Barcelona to start my lessons. The first time I met Willis, I was starstruck! Willis wanted us to play a song and I chose “Solar”. It is a composition that I know well, but that did not help at all. I was playing with the person who had all the skills I always wanted. In the middle of my solo, Wills stopped me and said, “you are not communicating with me”! Which unfortunately were absolutely true..
After the session, Willis started to introduce me to his approach to improvisation. I had expected it to be based on scales and transcriptions, but Willis had a whole different approach. Willis teachings were based around geometry. What did that mean? An electric bass is tuned I fourths. This results in for example the octaves looking the same everywhere of the fretboard. The same goes for melodic motifs. The result is that all that is played on an electric bass can be looked upon as a geometric shape. Willis uses this geometry to organize chords and their available tonal centers. This results in the bass player never have to move his or hers hand more than a half-step to reach the available notes in another key.
This release represents me as a jazz improviser after finishing my studies with Gary Willis in 2015. Track number six is recorded before this period began. This track is called “Newfus” and represents my improvisational talents before my studies with Willis. “Newfus” is a part of a production containing eight original compositions and Willis regarded these as part of my research and thought that my improvisation on the track was the best of the project. Anders Langset plays drums on this and I wanted him to play on the next recording as well. After a discussion with my PhD supervisor Per Elias Drabløs, I chose to contact my dream drummer Kirk Covington (Tribal Tech)! How did this come about? When I presented my thoughts on the recording and told him I was going to use the same musicians as the previous recording, Drabløs said to me “you have got to think bigger. Who do you want to play with the most?” Kirk Covington, I replied timidly.
Thanks to Willis I got in contact with Covington and he proved to be a very nice guy and he would love to travel to Norway and be a part of the recording. To make my dream complete, I had Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech) mix and master the production. It was Covington who gave me the idea and put me in contact with Kinsey.
Bernt Moen plays keyboards on both productions. Moen is for me a unique musician that can never be replaced, and he really impressed Covington (who have played with such legends as Josef Zawinul).
The compositions on this album are a part of my doctoral dissertation Från grundton till b2 (Sahlander 2017) which is now being released on Losen Records. I hope you enjoy the result!
Fredrik Sahlander, January 2021