Exposé Online banner

Helge Sunde & Ensemble Denada — Windfall
(Ozella OZ 053CD, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-10-17

Windfall Cover artRarely do I come across a recording that I enjoy so much, yet find so hard to describe and categorize. “The Speedcouch” opens this set of seven tracks by Norwegian trombonist and composer Helge Sunde and his fifteen-piece orchestra, and at first hearing one might believe this to be some kind of avant-garde classical workout, but before long (in fact, barely a few minutes in) Windfall begins to reveal itself for what it is: instrumental, orchestral jazz of the highest order. The many layers of sound and variety of solos available to an ensemble with fifteen players offers room for the styles to wander around a bit within the jazz idiom, and there are some real surprises around every turn. For example “Seven Winds” begins in a somewhat laid-back 70s ECM style and then starts blossoming with beautiful textures and solos. “The Entire Truth” is a relaxed piece brought in with some gentle Holdsworth-like guitar washes, later to be spun into a beautiful piano-supported piece with strong melodies and a warm guitar-solo section. “Sidewalk” and “Moosic” maintain a lively and brisk pace, with powerful arrangements and strong melodies, but are very different from one another. “The Arrow” mostly stays in laid-back territory with long sweeping chordage and magical piano textures, and near the end features a reading by Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge, closing the disc nicely. So for the nuts and bolts, we have Sunde and two other trombone players, two trumpets, flugelhorn. A full family of saxophones, alto flute, alto and bass clarinet, sampling and electronics, piano, bass, guitar and drums. I guess at times I hear hints of Grand Wazoo era Zappa, Jaga Jazzist (although this sounds like neither really), and other big bands with a more tempered and composed approach. This is some seriously good stuff.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Helge Sunde

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Muffins - Double Negative – I suppose any time a band that has been around as long as the Muffins puts out a new album, there’s going to be some disagreement among fans about its merits. Whether they changed too much or...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues