Time After Time
Time after Time" The Foreign Legion " This is a brilliant disc by a brilliant quintet" Morgunbladid (Iceland) WINNER BEST JAZZ PERFORMANCE 2006! Iceland Music Awards 1/31/07 Review: "THE DOUBLE BASSIST" SPRING ISSUE 2007 The Foreign Legion, a band formed from five of Iceland's most celebrated expatriate (hence their name) jazz musicians, recorded this album in concert while on a reunion tour of their native land in 2006. Bassist Árni Egilsson provides most of the quintet's original material, and it is he who most often sets the tone for ( and occasionally states the theme of) the twelve pieces on this mostly mainstream CD. His own "Song of the Gardeners" is set to an infectious Latin beat to which he gradually adds melodic and rhythmic wrinkles. His bass walks steadily under the odd blues piece and contributes a deft and sonorous accompaniment to the plangent walz-time "Bridal Song". Most affectingly, his playing is infused with an eloquent, brooding melancholy on three laments for the dead: "Memory of Andrés", "NHØP", and "We Try to Go On". The band tackle their standard material (Styne/Cahn's "Time after Time", Gerswin's "Soon" and Porter's "Get Out of Town") with the relaxed informality that characterises such old friends' reunions. For the most part they overcome the problem of limited tonal range resulting from having piano, guitar and vibes as the main solo instruments by intuitively dropping in and out of the mix in turn. Saved from mainstream jazz's besetting sin - cozy predictability- bu the inclusion of a number of distinctively Icelandic melodies, this album provides yet more evidence of the eastward transatlantic shift of jazz's centre of gravity. CP Review "THE BASS WORLD" volume 31 Number one 2007. TIME AFTER TIME The Foreign Legion The members of this remarkable quintet of artists have been friends for over 40 years, since playing in various bands in Iceland. As their careers blossomed, they were spread all over the globe and did not get to work together very often. But in 1992, this band of musical 'brothers' came together to perform at the RuRek Jazz Festival, where the name of "The Foreign Legion" was suggested, and it stuck! They recorded their first CD then. In 2005 the group came together once again and toured their country and this recording is the happy result. A combination of jazz standards and originals are presented in a most interesting mix. The well known "Time After Time" begins with Arni Egilsson's arco work (and you can tell it's Arni after the first few strokes of his bow), a beautiful arrangement of this classic that features vibraphonist Scheving and Guitarist Bjarnason. A peaceful ballad written by Egilsson, "Memory of Andres" is dedicated to the memory of alto saxophonist Andres Ingolfsson. The vibraphonist and bassist are featured. "NHØP", written in memory of the great Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen opens up with some tasty pizz play by Egilsson as the tune moves into a swinging groove with a crisp drum solo by Mr. Ostlund. "JP-Q" written by Jon Pall Bjarnason, features some smooth unison play of the guitarist and bassist in this trio setting with the drummer. Egilsson's solo is spot on! It really cooks. Arni Egilsson's "Soaring" is a contemplative ballad with a Nordic feel - a poem set to music. Nice. Vibraphonist Scheving contributes "Patriotic Blues", which is an arrangement of fifths in the Icelandic tradition - with a classic jazz theme. Scheving also wrote the ballad "Bridal Song" for his daughter. Originally in 4/4 time it is played here as a lilting waltz, and nicely done. The jazz standard "Soon" by George Gershwin, is given new life in this arrangement by the drummer, Petur Ostlund. Great solos by the vibraphonist, pianist and bassist. Egilsson's "We Try To Go On" reflects the sadness and loss in the bass community felt with the untimely death of the great Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, who passed away at a very young age of 59. Arni composed and played this at NHØP's memorial service and this solo piece for bass is presented here as a dedication to his close friend. The bassist Arni Egilsson is a great draw for his performances at the ISB Conventions and around the world. Both his pizz and arco technique are well known through his many recordings. He is first call bassist in Hollywood and in the studios of Los Angeles. Arni came to the USA in the 1950s and has worked with everyone from Andre Previn to Ray Brown (and his recording 'Basses Loaded' with Ray, Pete Jolly and Jimmie Smith is a must-have for jazz fans). This latest project is top rank and very listenable. Enjoy. Review by Paul Pearce.