Nils Petter Molvaer Hamada

This Norwegian trumpeter has been a prime mover of the so-called "nu-jazz" scene, a Scandinavian analogue to our '90s acid jazz stream. This first new album (not including collections of film scores) in five years shows a slight turn towards a more classic and less obviously electronic form. Gone are the skittering rhythms drawn from drum & bass influences. Instead, Jan Bang assists with live sampling of Molvaer, as well as guitarist Eivind Aarset's mostly restrained, moody interplay. On the upbeat side, real live drummer and bass player Audun Erlien contributes to "Friction" and "Cruel Attitude" with aggressive propulsion that's out of step with the rest of the album. Molvaer's prevailing mode is a slow, deep soulfulness that draws upon Miles Davis's "In a Silent Way"-era style, as well as Jon Hassell's long, relaxed, breathy playing. This is enhanced by an attention to natural reverb and also some technological assistance, while Aarset proves to be a patient, responsive foil, whether reacting to or drawing out Molvaer's shifts in tone. (Thirsty Ear)