Marius Neset’s latest collection features a wild and exuberant quintet: from the very start, this is truly a ‘happy’ album that bursts with life.
The title track exudes Neset’s positive energy and his dynamic quintet. Happy really does sound like the adjective, with individual solos interspersed with intricate horn lines that are somehow reminiscent of David Sanborn, Brecker Brothers et al from 30 or 40 years ago. In a good way. Similarly, the second track on this joyous album is Wildlife, which does convey a freedom of being outdoors. Horn stabs and lines weave in and out of the rest of the quintet, occasionally coming up for air.
Listen to Happy here:
There is something delightfully funky and cross-genre on this album and that expanse allows every member of the quintet to shine. A clever meeting of minds between the keyboard of Elliot Galvin with the piano of Magnus Hjorth combines with bassist Connor Chaplin and drummer Anton Eger. At times, each one is allowed to run with the happiness, until they all come together again.
As the album proceeds, the music turns darker and more reflective, yet still conveying a sense of energy and purpose. Diamonds, one of the four tracks co-composed with drummer Anton Eger.
"There is a 'message' in the title of this album,” says Neset. “It is very simple, but also a very strong one. We had a great time recording the album. A week in the studio, day and night, everyone was loving it. And that long process of making it has essentially been whittled down … into the happiest moments we had.”
The combination of electronic keyboards and ‘real’ piano somehow lifts this album and stops it falling into a particular genre. The rhythmic influence of Eger balances with Neset’s melodic genius. This is an album that will repay repeated listening.
The album is out now on ACT Music.