CD REVIEW: Mette Henriette – Mette Henriette

Mette Henriette – Mette Henriette
(ECM. CD review by Henning Bolte)

Mette Henriette is the short form of Mette Henriette Marte Datter Rølvåg. The first name of her one-armed Sami grandmother Henriette takes a prominent place because the young Norwegian saxophonist has such a close bond with her.

The double album contains music with a trio entitled “o“ and music with a star- studded tentet entitled "Ø“. It is a fine example of a remarkable thrust of a developing young musician, a musician that appears to hold the thread firmly in hand – as pictured by Dutch star photographer Anton Corbijn in the liner photos. The music of the album is heterogeneous and diverse but at the same time possesses a clear unity and uniqueness. It is nourished and branded by Mette Henriette’s playing in free improvisation contexts and her parallel activity as a contemporary music composer.

Such is her range of style and expression, some listeners may doubt their own ears. For example when quiet sounds pass into acute and overdriven ones all of a sudden, when grooving jazz rhythms emerge from ethereal strings or when violent outbursts carry gentle melodic substrates. For Mette Henriette everything from utmost fragility to sharply shooting directness is a natural consequence of her artistic choices and the work’s internal logic. Mette Henriette is from a new generation of musicians that perceives stylistic modes of all kinds without fear, and likewise applies them as apt and effective forms to express themselves, to the extent that it is not so surprising to hear traces of Arvo Pärt as well as those of Evan Parker.

Striking characteristics of the music are the brevity of the pieces, the drifting of its sound and the merging of heterogeneous sound modalities and approaches of playing. The elliptical brevity of the pieces makes the music especially potent. Mette Henriette brings into full action the entire range of today’s saxophone sound from muted gliding to screeching multiphonics.

The trio part is characterized by minimal tonal gestures, tonal hatchings and shadings and transitional moments equaling sparkling water drops just before falling. The tentet part has correspondingly powerful dynamics. By way of its alternating opposites effectively strong walls of sound arise. Mette Henriette is a strong versatile voice to watch out for, right now and in the future.

Mette Henriette will perform at the upcoming Jazzahead! in Bremen with her trio, Johan Lindvall (p) and Katrine Schiøtt (cello) as part of the European Jazz Meeting. (LINK)

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