CD: Hedvig Mollestad Trio – Shoot! | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Hedvig Mollestad Trio – Shoot!
The Nordic metal-jazz nexus
Fusion is a pretty difficult word to deal with. Miles Davis's Bitches Brew might have inspired a raft of jazzers to embrace rock, but an awful lot of the crossover that followed – like prog rock – became the musical equivalent of the love that dare not speak its name. Shoot!, the debut album from Norway’s Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, might fit that bill, but it’s not that straightforward.
A formally educated guitarist, she was the 2009 Molde International Jazz Festival’s Jazz Talent of the Year. Her work with The Trondheim Jazzorkester and her own Trio Thomassen (whose repertoire includes the standard “The Days of Wine and Roses”) fits what you might expect from that. Shoot!, though, includes a cover of grunge poster boys The Melvins’ 2006 album cut “Blood Witch”. Mollestad Thomassen is also in the punk band VOM. Shoot! is issued by the genre-blurring Rune Grammofon, the home of pyschedelic/jazz/metal outfit Motorpsycho and the furious Hendrix/Albert Ayler collision Scorch Trio. It all means Shoot! couldn't be straightforward.
The mostly instrumental Shoot! (there are a few hollers on “Blood Witch”) is closer to jazz-assisted outfits like The Mars Volta than the fractured rock of The Melvins. But it is grungy in the pre-Nevermind way. Drums have that John Bonham kick and riffs twist. And it’s riffs that Shoot! is built around: primal, monolithic riffs. Each cut strings together different patterns, bringing a welcome texture. Guitar solos are either pure noise or Ornette Coleman let loose on the fretboard. At points, despite Ellen Breken’s identifiably jazzy double bass, this could be Sixties merchants of heaviness Blue Cheer. The snail’s pace, doom-infused first section of “For the Air” is a sibling of very early Black Sabbath. Yet the album closes with the reflective "The Valley". Shoot! is a challenge. It's also perplexing. But it worms its way in.
Watch Hedvig Mollestad Trio performing “The Dead One” from Shoot! at May 2011’s Trondheim Jazz Festival
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