Fredrik Ljungkvist - tenor sax, clarinet
Klas Nevrin - piano
Per Zanussi - double bass
Øyvind Skarbø - drums
It's not uncommon for jazz bands to release an album after just one gig, or sometimes even before any concert has been played at all. The nature of improvisation sometimes makes this approach valid. This is no such recording.
Initially a trio, Swedish-Norwegian group Honeyleap has refined their sound and approach since 2009, not wanting to make a recorded statement until the music had its very own identity. "There's so much music out there," says drummer Øyvind Skarbø (Håkon Kornstad, 1982). "We didn't want to do it until it felt right." Along with bassist/composer Per Zanussi (Zanussi5, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra) and pianist and writer Klas Nevrin (Yun Kan 5), the three created Honeyleap almost on a whim. There wasn't any rational reason for hooking up; they hardly knew each other and had certainly never played together. The immediate chemistry was good, but when tenor saxman/clarinetist Fredrik Ljungkvist (Atomic, Yun Kan 5) joined the fold – easily one of the most influential players on his instrument in the world - the music changed. It got less serious and more playful.
Honeyleap was ready.
To create a warm and creative mood, the band opted to record both with and without an audience in a house dating back to the 16th century in Oslo, Norway. Recording was done by master sound engineer Thomas Hukkelberg. With all music composed by the band, this album is an excellent example of how new and fresh individual statements can still be achieved, and at the same time be deeply rooted in the jazz tradition.
FROM THE PRESS
“What improvisations! Fredrik Ljungkvist shows on both the sax and clarinet why so many of us regard him as one of the very finest. Not only is Nevrin the perfect co-partner and opponent, but he’s also a unique and fabulous soloist. As is Per Zanussi, which of course comes as no surprise. Moreover, with Øyvind Skarbø he produces an accompaniment that both comments the soloists and indulges in a perfectly unrestrained swing!” – Tor Dalaker Lund, Kongsberg Jazz Evidence.
“The musicians trust each other, a quality that is surely essential when ingrained structures are replaced with intuition, demanding a clear sense of form and direction. Ljungkvist is, like always, indispensable with his creativity and incisiveness. But I also enjoy when Nevrin sounds a bit like Cecil Taylor, and when Zanussi and Skarbø play just on the border between jazz and free jazz, without simply submitting to a school. … Many musicians who attempt to emulate American free jazz of the 60′s play surprisingly similar. Honeyleap does not follow that tendency. Most obviously, they mix in unusual elements, like when Klas Nevrin plays lyrically in the middle of everything. The group’s interesting dynamic often relies on Nevrin contrasting against Zanussi and Skarbø, like two cogwheels spinning together but at different speeds.” Johannes Cornell, Dagens Nyheter.
“The compositions work mostly as a springboard to stretch out into the unknown. Ljungkvist was already the brightest star in my personal jazz heaven, but after tonight Nevrin has written himself in there as well. His complete control of the piano, treating any dissonance with the greatest control and calculation, times (as in YunKan 10) perfectly with Ljungkvist’s energy and harmonic control. Skarbø comments with complete lack of impulse control, which provides some enjoyable moments, and some that disrupts the musical progression quite pronouncedly. Perhaps that is also the point. Per Zanussi supplies a firm anchor and invaluable link between the Sunnmøre madness and the Swedish energetic finesse, resulting in two very strong sets from a super quartet!” – Svein Magnus Furu, Jazznytt.
“Honeyleap is a breath of fresh air in jazz, with musicians that are not lost in melancholy and music that never stands still! There is a rapport between the musicians, resulting in original songs.. moving between hard swing and minimalist expression” - Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen
“The album is brimming with modern European swing, the group frosting its melodicism with a tart insouciance.” - The New York Jazz Record