Lis Wessberg, Twain Walking Review


Lis Wessberg, Twain Walking Review

by Stamish Malcuss

Lis-Wessberg-Jazz-Sensibilities-cdDanish trombonist Lis Wessberg, a stalwart of the jazz scene, returns with her sophomore album, Twain Walking, released on April Records. Building on the acclaim of her debut Yellow Map, this new work continues to explore her unique blend of contemporary jazz, infused with the rich traditions of New Orleans and the reflective qualities of the ECM sound. With over fifty album credits and a career spanning performances with jazz luminaries such as Marilyn Mazur and Fredrik Lundin, Wessberg’s credentials are impeccable, and Twain Walking further solidifies her status as a leading voice in modern jazz.

The album’s title, inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” reflects a journey of musical exploration and personal reflection. Wessberg’s compositions on Twain Walking are rooted in melody and a rich tonal palette, embodying the essence of her artistic philosophy. Her trombone playing, characterized by a breath control that mimics a lamenting human voice, anchors the album, weaving lyrical melodies that resonate with emotions.

Twain Walking opens with “Birds,” a track that sets the tone with its spacious arrangement and ethereal atmosphere. Wessberg’s trombone sings with soulful clarity, complemented by Steen Rasmussen’s shimmering Fender Rhodes and synths, creating a dreamlike soundscape with soul and a definite groove. The rhythm section, featuring Lennart Ginman on double bass and Jeppe Gram on drums, provides a solid yet fluid foundation, allowing the music to breathe and evolve organically.

The standout track “Behind the Walls,” featuring Estonian vocalist Karmen Rõivassepp, showcases a seamless blend of jazz and electronic elements. Rõivassepp’s voice, rich and emotive, intertwines with Wessberg’s trombone, creating a dialogue that is both haunting and beautiful. The track’s lush orchestration, reminiscent of James Bond themes, adds a cinematic quality that elevates the album’s melancholic and reflective tone.

On “Clouds,” Wessberg’s trombone playing is beautiful, imbued with a bluesy, vocal quality that conveys a profound sense of longing and introspection. Rasmussen’s piano, delicate and behind the beat, complements the emotional intensity of Wessberg’s performance, making “Clouds” a standout moment on the album.

The title track, “Twain Walking,” epitomizes the album’s thematic focus on journeys and dualities. Wessberg’s trombone glides effortlessly into the upper register, while the laid-back, downtempo groove of the drums and the syncopated bass create a sense of movement and exploration. The interplay between the instruments is masterful, reflecting the ensemble’s confidence and maturity.

Throughout Twain Walking, Wessberg pays homage to her influences, from Miles Davis to Radiohead, while cultivating a sound that is distinctly her own. Her compositions are thoughtfully crafted, balancing technical proficiency with emotional resonance. The album’s production, marked by thick synth timbres and cavernous reverbs, creates an expansive and immersive listening experience.

Lis Wessberg’s Twain Walking reflects her musical artistry and vision. It’s an album that honors the traditions of jazz while offering a contemporary sound that is emotive and centered around rhythms’ ability to inspire and establish a groove. Twain Walking is a compelling chapter in her ongoing musical journey.

Be the first to comment on "Lis Wessberg, Twain Walking Review"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.