The Kernel Knut Riisnæs Quartet
- 1Around The Kernel06:39
- 2Living Next Door To Hjallis05:11
- 3La Mesha05:18
- 4Lady Day02:10
- 5West End Blues04:46
- 6Inner Circle07:35
- 7Reminiscence part 102:13
- 8Reminiscence part 204:37
- 9Midnight Waltz05:26
- 10Love And Peace04:30
Info for The Kernel
As multi-faceted and hard cutting as diamond, as sweet and layered as gelato Napolitano, The Kernel epitomises all that is great about jazz. It features a group of exceedingly skilled musicians navigating a stimulating repertoire of originals and well-chosen tunes from the classic jazz handbook.
Leader, saxophonist Knut Riisnæs released the highly acclaimed 2nd Thoughts (Losen Records) in 2017. His co-musicians on this recording are the same: Anders Aarum (piano), Jens Fossum (bass) and Tom Olstad (drums). It’s a tight unit – a genuine band of well-gigged virtuosi.
The strikingly produced album opens with Around The Kernel (Aarum). A delicate, rubato piano opening passage leads to a charmingly stated theme in 3/4 followed by delightfully constructed solos by Anders and Knut. Living Next Door To Hjallis (Fossum) really swings. Anders takes off on a terrific solo that culminates in an exchange with Tom’s ever-ebullient beat.
La Mesha (Kenny Dorham) is a gorgeous 20-bar format ballad. Jens and Tom support sensitive solos by Anders and Knut with empathic mastery.
Lady Day/West End Blues (Shorter/Riisnæs) opens with Knut’s spellbinding take on Wayne Shorter’s haunting ballad and morphs into a walking blues that swings so hard it makes you smile; a foot-tapping stroll that typifies jazz at its best!
Inner Circle (McKee) is a contemplative waltz with theme stated by Knut and Anders and features an endearing solo by Jens followed by solos from piano and sax.
Reminiscence (Riisnæs) is a fitting platform for Knut’s mastery of his instrument opening with an introspective version of the theme leading to a pulsating Latin feel for the tune’s development and solos.
Midnight Waltz (Walton) is a lively blues in 3/4 with strident solos from Knut, Anders and Jens.
The album lovingly and fittingly closes with Love & Peace (Parlan). It is an exquisite ballad performed by a world-class band, so adroitly led by maestro Riisnæs.
Knut Riisnæs, tenor saxophone
Anders Aarum, piano
Jens Fossum, bass
Tom Olstad, drums
was born in Oslo, where he became central to the local jazz scene at an early age. He contributed to the bebop inspired records released by some of the greatest jazz musicians of Norway, and made his solo debut with the album Escape, by Knut Borge characterized as "the basis of the Wizard John Coltrane ... by far the best Norwegian jazz production in 1982, besides New Cool Quartet". Ten years after he released jazz standards on the album Confessin', whereupon Stein Kagge said that «Riisnæs have signed up as successor to the great Norwegian tenor saxophonists like Arvid Gram Paulsen and Bjarne Nerem ...». After the third album with guitarist John Scofield and bassist Palle Danielsson, Knut Borge repeated his impressions from 1982: «I know a few tenorist in the world so confidently like Riisnæs have seized the saxophone phrases John Coltrane». The fourth album Touching was launched at the outdoor stage Blå, and bass player Arild Andersen referers that the Quartet «nursed an elastic expression with good grip on familiar dynamic effects».
Riisnæs has worked with the leading Norwegian jazz musicians, like on Karin Krog (recording debut, 1966), Egil Kapstad (1967), Terje Rypdal (1968), Torgrim Sollid (Østerdalsmusikk, 1975), Ketil Bjørnstad (Leve Patagonia, 1978), Radka Toneff (1977), Laila Dalseth (1978), Pål Thowsen (1979), Kenneth Sivertsen (1985), Per Husby (1990), Bjørn Alterhaug (1991), Kjell Öhman (1993), with Jan Gunnar Hoff Group (1992–), Sigurd Ulveseth Trio (1993–), "Radiostorbandet" (1971–90), a big band led by Helge Hurum, Jens Wendelboe, Kjell Karlsen and Fred Nøddelund. From 2000, he has played with Helge Iberg, in "Sharp 9" (2004–), in a Quartet with Ivar Antonsen (piano), Terje Gewelt (bass) and Espen Rud (drums) (2004–), and in Ditlef Eckhoff Quintet.
Riisnæs toured with saxophone trio Petter Wettre and Frode Nymo (2005) initiated by Rikskonsertene, with material premiered at Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2004. The trio with Petter Wettre in the lead, released the album State of the Art (2005). Riisnæs played at Hurtigruten in 2007 and performed Bleak House with Terje Rypdal at Moldejazz the same year. In 2009 he was in the line-up with Tore Johansen Quartet and Håvard Stubø Quartet. In 2010 he was artist in residence at Jazznatt, contributed at Carl Størmer's JazzCode, and recorded an album with Lars Jansson, Mats Eilertsen and Carl Størmer.
This album contains no booklet.