Frigg — Frigg
(NorthSide NSD6079, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-09-01Not to be confused with the German Frigg, a jazz quartet led by guitarist Bert Wrede, this Finnish seven-piece is an acoustic fiddle orgy. Five members play fiddle at least part-time, bringing to mind JPP, but where that ensemble stays fairly traditional in their arrangements, Frigg brings a more eclectic, modern approach to the music, bringing in some American and Celtic flavors. It’s a little like an acoustic Värttinä set with multiple fiddles instead of singers. The rhythms are tricky, with accents likely to appear just about anywhere in a measure, giving the impression of shifting meters even when it’s really straight four or three. About half of the tunes are traditional and half original compositions, but for a non-Finn listening there seems little difference, which is not a bad thing. Aside from the fiddles, you get guitar, dobro, harmonium, mandolin, cittern, viola, and nyckelharpa, the traditional Swedish keyed violin. As if that weren’t enough, guests supply drums and percussion (very infrequently), accordion and piano. The dobro in particular lends an unexpected twist, with a little bluesy twang behind the lilting fiddles. And they have the good sense to vary the arrangements, so sometimes only a single instrument carries the tune, sometimes the whole crew, and various stages in between. If you haven’t overdosed on Nordic folk music yet, Frigg is a good addition to your collection.
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more