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Norwegian saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg has been one of the revelations of the Nordic saxophone scene over the past decade, joining such elders as Jan Garbarek and Trygve Seim.

Strongly influenced by American tenors such as Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp or Pharoah Sanders, she performs with her group Concept, for which she writes the entire repertoire, and reunites with drummer Hans Hulbaekmo in the equilateral quartet Flukten, for which Hulbaekmo composed six of the eight themes on the group’s second album, the other two being written by guitarist Marius Klovning.

The quartet’s aesthetic ranges from pieces where melody dominates – such as the title theme – to others where abstraction takes over, such as “Monica fra Solvaer”, the longest track, recorded live, where the tenor’s raucousness, even to the point of screaming, combines with the guitar’s rock tones to end up as a crazy calypso.

Although the compositions are by two of the quartet’s members, the group’s sound is shaped by the equal contribution of the four musicians, each with a strong personality that they bring to the ensemble. While some of the themes are performed with remarkable pugnacity, Flukten also has a calmer, dreamier side on “Abundans“, where the melody stands on its own and requires no solo intervention, or on “Dekonstruert Komle“, where the double bass, played with a bow, plays the leading role, before giving way to a tenor that is alternately serene and furious, and concluding with a tonic, melodic drum solo.

In this way, each member of the quartet is highlighted in turn, without any of them pulling the wool over their own eyes. This is a fine recording from a tight-knit group whose approach to music is highly original and fascinating to follow.

Line up:

Hanna Paulsberg: tenor sax

Marius Klovning: guitar

Bardur Reinert Poulsen: double bass

Hans Hulbaekmo: drums

Flukten was released by the Norwegian label “Odin Records” on May 31, 2024

©Photo Header Leikny Havik

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