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Gaute Storsve Band — Bebé K’awiil
(Apollon Records AP185, 2024, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-06-08

Bebé K’awiil Cover art

On El Gran Gotzilla, guitarist Gaute Storsve led what was billed as a trio in a set of jazz tunes, many of which indulged in latin rhythms and flavors. I say it was “billed as a trio” because Storsve’s bassist Petter Barg and drummer Henning Carlsen were joined by Angel Terri Domech (percussion), Jørgen Mathisen (saxophone), and Ingrid Berg Mehus (violin). All of those players are back for Bebé K’awiil with the exception of Carlsen, who is replaced by Vetle Adrian Larsen on drums. Patricia Morales also contributes vocals on some of the tracks, so it makes sense that Storsve has dubbed this the Gaute Storsve Band. The guitarist, in addition to his musical endeavors, is very interested in the Maya culture of Mexico and Central America, and it is that interest that has inspired the music. While there is a clear influence and inspiration from latin music, none of the tracks are confined to established traditions, blending in elements of Norwegian jazz-rock. The violin of Mehus is often the most prominent sound, and her playing is fluid and dynamic, maintaining a clean acoustic tone rather than venturing into effects. Mathisen walks the line between sweet tones and a grittier edge that lifts the music out of pure traditionalism. Storsve himself treads the same kind of line, sometimes backing the ensemble with clean-toned arpeggios, then stepping out with a distorted solo — though never into any kind of metal influence. Tracks like “Itzamna” and “Chaak” build from laid-back grooves up to frenzied peaks that provide the album’s highlights. Domech’s percussion is a continual source of propulsion and really fills out the arrangements. Bebé K’awiil is a fine album that is likely to grow on listeners with each listen.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Gaute Storsve

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