Iro Haarla Quintet
Many times over I’ve approached an aspect of jazz as though it’s an uphill battle, something I’ll have to fight tooth-and-nail to comprehend, and most of those instances have proven far easier to digest than I’d expected. But no record felt quite as natural and immediate for me as Vespers, which I first played while wandering the snowy fields of my wife’s parents’ place.
It goes without saying that Vespers exudes the wintry solitude of its cover-art but how this quintet manages such a unique sound is worth a few words. With exception to the occasions where Trygve Seim and Mathias Eick synchronize their powerful horns, Haarla’s quintet mediates between the soft brushstrokes of Jon Christensen’s drums, the dull rumble of Ulf Krokfors’ double-bass and Haarla’s twin strengths on piano and harp. The culmination of these performances carries a dream-like quality that I’ve yet to step away from.