Snow Tiger - notes by Andy Fite

Here you can read the liner notes to our coming album.

Snow Tiger – notes

Here is an album of music I am so happy to be listening to!

I first became aware of Jimmy Halperin when I was living in New York and a musician friend of mine (a great one!) was talking about a gig he’d played the night before, where he had a little trouble, maybe didn’t play his very best, because his nerves got the best of him. I wondered why. And he answered, ”Well, Jimmy Halperin was in the audience.”

A statement like that can focus your mind when you finally get the chance to hear guy whose two little ears in a club could unbalance a seasoned player like that guy. And when I did hear Jimmy, I could see how it could go down that way. Here’s a guy who’s gonna hear everything!

Jimmy Halperin is one of the great saxophonists in all of jazz, a man with total command of his horn, and of the elements of music. He continues a line in the evolution of jazz that includes Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Warne Marsh, to name only saxophonists, but his influences are many and varied. Pianists Lennie Tristano and Sal Mosca were both important mentors, and JS Bach must have played a role as well. As was—and this surprised me when Jimmy told me about it, but it makes perfect sense when you know it—Frédéric Chopin.

Pål Nyberg, a fantastic Swedish guitar player, studied in Amsterdam, and apart from the benefits of living and working in such a cosmopolitan environment, got to know about Jimmy. In Holland he’s not such a secret as he is in much of the world. And last year, Pål got the idea to bring him to Scandinavia, play a tour and make a record. The tour was beautiful, and this is the record!

The rhythm section is perfect for these guys: Robert Erlandsson and Anders Fryland punch it in there with clarity and warmth. They are solid, sympathetic, and swinging, with great drive but at the same time light and unobtrusive, so the soloists are able to develop their long, complex lines without interference.

The repertoire is largely oriented toward what is usually called the ”Tristano School”, with lines by Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano as well by Jimmy, based on some of the standard tunes that are among the easiest for an improviser to play creatively on, and the choice pays off beautifully: the compositions, amazing as they are in their own right (and so beautifully played!) work as a frame: they set the guys up to play some great new music right off the tops of their heads.

One tune that comes from a somewhat different angle is Pål’s beautiful ballad ”Siri”, a haunting melody that stands strong and gorgeous on its own and maybe wouldn’t even need improvised solos, though Pål, Robert and Jimmy all play great things on it.

The session was reportedly a very cool experience. They didn’t worry too much about getting perfect takes, the more important point being to get into the groove and let the music happen as it was gonna happen. In the event, almost everything on this album is a first take, and I will say, having listened to the whole set three times through while writing this: It happened!

Andy Fite

April 21, 2015

#AndyFite #SnowTiger #halperinnybergconnection #jimmyhalperin #pålnyberg #linernotes

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