by Mette Henriette


by Mette Henriette


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When Norwegian saxophonist Mette Henriette issued her eponymously titled double-length ECM debut in 2016, its ambition was revealed by ten years' worth of compositions recorded by a trio and a larger ensemble. Drifting is performed solely by her trio. It includes returning pianist Johann Lindvall and cellist Judith Harman replacing Katrine Schiott. In the six-year interim between albums, Henriette studied, taught, and performed extensively. In 2017 she undertook two artist residencies: One at Edvard Munch's atelier in Ekely, near Oslo, and a second at the Southbank Center in London. Drifting is gentler, quieter, but no less challenging than its predecessor. Its compositions reside in the amorphous aural terrain between jazz, folk, and contemporary classical. Sound -- tone, color, vibration, duration, and timbre -- has always been key in Henriette's aesthetic M.O. Opener "The 7th Wave" finds Lindvall playing a repetitive modal chord as Harman adds fragmental yet seamless melody on top as Henriette fills the margin with economical phrasing on her alto and engages the other instruments in rounds. "Across the Floor'' begins similarly, although this time Lindvall's repetitive arpeggiatic statement is appended first by Henriette's expressive yet minimal phrases, then by Harman's low-register bowing adding balance, depth, and dimensionality. It's nearly pastoral in feel, but its undercurrent of implied turbulence adds force. "I Villvind'' commences with dissonant, droning cello as Henriette finds space between its tones to deliver elegant evocations of refracted harmony, and Lindvall cascades around and through the pair. Henriette moves her playing outside. The title cut is introduced in unison. Henriette offers a phrase buoyed by Lindvall as Harman elongates, shapes, and underscores its lilting lyricism. "Indrifting You" is both tender and abstract. Henriette's tone recalls Ben Webster's as Lindvall maps the spectral chordal sequence amid poignant fills and accents. Harman plays underneath, offering tense arco flights in the space that exists between rhythm, harmony, and texture. "Oversoar" and "A-Choo" find the saxophonist and cellist playing in restrained, laid-back drones in odd metric intervals around contrasting, nearly static piano vamps, achieving tonal tension. Before one can figure out just how they might erase that boundary, Lindvall gently exhorts them to play the skeletal lyric in unison. "Indrifting You" weds assonant tonalities and dynamics. Henriette's alto is at its most spiritual and lyrical as the pianist paces her with a limited tonal palette and Harman hovers above, elevating the lyricism in the saxophonist's playing. "Oo " and "Solsnu" are exercises in textural and tonal possibilities that evoke violent events in the natural world. The brief closer "Divining" is at once a tone poem and a sonic prayer. Lindvall's four-note thematic pulse highlights cello and alto saxophone breathing together in octave unity. Though much shorter and less varied than her outstanding debut, Drifting is easily just as musically sophisticated and spiritually resonant. ~ Thom Jurek

Product Details

Release Date: 02/03/2023
Label: Ecm
UPC: 0602448419521
Rank: 86925


  1. The 7th
  2. Across the Floor
  3. I Villvind
  4. Cadat
  5. Chasse
  6. Drifting
  7. Oversoar
  8. Rue Du Renard
  9. Indrifting You
  10. A Choo
  11. Ciedda Fas
  12. O
  13. Solsnu
  14. Crescent
  15. Divining

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