Reach Up Music (2014)
1. Engine Song
2. West Coast
4. Rakt Fram
5. Skinny Deep
9. Told You So
Nils Janson - trumpet, keyboards
Andreas Hourdakis - electric guitar
Martin Höper - electric bass
Chris Montgomery - drums
A very solid, powerful and conscious debut by City Nights, Swedish
band composed by some of the best and most requested Swedish jazz musicians from
the younger generation. Andreas Hourdakis, to begin with, guitarist of Magnus Öström
Svensson Trio), Nils Jansson, the most interesting trumpet player of his
generation, the great groover Martin Höper on bass, and Chris Montgomery on drums,
with his rich and versatile punctuation.
The album touches and immediately goes beyond jazz rock, almost creating a new style,
if one had to give a genre definition. Freedom from jazz and rock becomes the most
distant point from both poles, making the fusion free from usual schemes. There
are elements of rock, indierock, jazz and progressive, often used in an innovative
and unprecedented, unexpected way. And the fantastic interplay resulting from the
fusion of instruments and inspiration is really the alchemy that makes each piece
interesting and easy to remember.
An album that is difficult to forget as it bears a very
recognizable sound, not only for the skill and virtuosity full of character of each
musician, but for consistency and maturity of inspiration.
The first track, Engine Song, is the album's most rockish, perhaps the cleanest
as far as roles are concerned, with Hourdakis expressing himself rather "classically"
and the jazziest part entrusted to Janson, who pulls out a very whistleable tune.
We come down to a deeper level with West Coast, where the sounds get closer
to compatriots Oddjob's and glide towards 70s' jazz-fusion. Proximity to Oddjob
also for the third song, Later, where the guitar is more strongly progressive.
Even though maintaining a uniform style, the tonality often changes, moving on new
rhythms, with the trumpet becoming ethereal towards the end, intertwined with a
beautiful crescendo of drums and guitar, before the last change of direction.
Rakt fram is characterized by a riveting and relentless bass, and a wonderful
trumpet line, perfectly rough and dirty at times. The fifth track is Skinny Deep,
where a playful interplay prevails at the beginning, until Hourdakis guitar takes
its most recognizable tones, and then leaving room for Janson's seventies tones,
with a magnificent drum finale. Jockgrim has one of the easiest and most
catchy melodies, with a deliciously funky rhythm and only the trumpet to introduce
a jazzy dissonance, until the second part is dominated by the endearing interplay
between the guitar and Montgomery's bass.
In Onsen Höper does wonders with his syncopated drums as the trumpet chirps
by, while in Colors sounds date very much back to the nineties rock, with
the trumpet singing as female vocals, leaning even Janson's own.keyboards. And then
the grand finale with Told You So, starting slowly, like a goodnight song,
until it takes a nostalgic tone: it almost feels like the music was created for
the end of a show, where each actor enters the stage to thank and greet before leaving
the stage, with the ethereal trumpet solo that lasts until Hourdakis' very ample
prog-pinkfloydian solo, with keyboards and trumpet signing the end.
How was this project
born? What was your intention to convey?
City Nights was formed when we (members of the band) where out drinking one
night in Stockholm. We all agreed on that we should start a fusion band. Soon after
that we got together and started rehearsing. Each member brought a couple of songs
to play and quite quickly we had enough material to record an album.
Do you have other projects in store?
We are currently writing material for our next album and we are very excited
they way it's turning out musically already. Hopefully we'll get in the studio during
fall and release it spring next year.
Did the mixture of genres make the communication of this
album difficult somehow?
Not really. The songs on the album are kind of written in a way that made us not
hesitate on how we wanted to play them. As far as communication goes on the record:
it's just rock n roll with an uneven beat.
Monica Mazzitelli for Jazzitalia
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Publishing Date: 24/08/2014