12 Points! may be a precocious child of only two, but already the festival of new European jazz has endeared itself to music devotees in Dublin, joining the dots to Europe’s other creative hubs, and carving out a niche as an indispensable showcase for exciting talent from across the union. FRI 7 MARCH 2008
From Lucerne Urs Bollhalder Trio
Like so many 12 Points! artists, Urs Bollhalder started early. In his teens he was the youngest trumpet playing member of the Swiss Youth Orchestra, but the switch to piano came shortly after, and he’s clearly been a quick and enthusiastic student. Concluding his studies at Lucerne’s Musikhochschule as recently as 2006, Bollhalder already demonstrates a mature conception and a knowing embrace of the piano’s rich tradition. Fleet lines tastefully punctuated with chromaticism, a buoyant time feel, and that sensation that the chord choices are always the right ones, mark Urs Bollhalder out as a key figure in the bright future of Swiss jazz. Of similar calibre are fellow Swiss bassist Raffaele Bossard and drummer Christoph Müller, providing an open and discursive groove that brings Bollhalder’s lyrical originals to life.
From Dublin Togetherness
Togetherness is among the newer projects at 12 Points! 08, but its actors will be familiar to anyone with a keen eye on the Dublin jazz scene, and it’s also a bellwether of the strength in jazz composition to be found in Ireland today. Setting aside the Hammond B3 and returning to the piano has stimulated some exemplary small group writing from Justin Carroll, characterised by shifts in meter, and performed by four musicians who clearly enjoy unpicking his rhythmic knots. Tenor saxophonist Michael Buckley now seems to have few impediments to melodic expression every time he plays, word is seeping out in the global jazz community about drummer Sean Carpio, and Simon Jermyn is evolving a very personal concept of the electric bass.
From Copenhagen Ibrahim Electric
If the piano trio is the heartland of the jazz romantic, then the organ trio is where its mischievous alter ego comes out to play. At least it appears that way with Copenhagen’s Ibrahim Electric, a glorious swamp thing of distorted sounds from a Lesley amp’s rotating horn, guitar riffs indebted to 60’s psychedelia and some brawny drumming that wouldn’t be out of place in stadium rock. This slightly unsettling and hugely enjoyable proposition is brought to you by three outstanding Danish musicians, for whom Ibrahim Electric puts them in touch with their masculine side. Organist Jeppe Tuxen is held in high regard as pianist with the group Endorfin but takes a robust approach to the Hammond console, guitarist Niclas Knudsen exploits an interest in African music to inject a vibrant Afrobeat element, and drummer Stefan Pasborg puts aside the colouristic devices for which he’s highly regarded in the Danish contemporary scene to bring only the good groove.