CD review: Anne Mette Iversen Quartet +1 – Racing A Butterfly 2020: Video, CD cover

Many can surely recall the sunny, childlike fervor and bounce chasing a butterfly. Whether it was the park behind the projects or a rolling, rural vista, a feeling of wonder and wander settled into our core memory, only to be summoned in up from the subconscious to displace the current. Even if but for a moment. Even if but for the forty-eight or so minutes of Racing a Butterfly‘s capering wit.

No one is afraid to follow a butterfly, especially not as limber and vigorous a creator as bassist/ composer Anne Mette Iversen, who composes the whole of her eleventh disc to assure us that she too shares both the same heartfelt memory and jumpy restlessness we all do. Which is why Racing a Butterfly effloresces with “Triangular Waves,” a title of some suspect given its rousing call of solidarity that instantly infuses the disc with a cavorting optimism and wit. Centering herself at the instinctual crux of her Quartet + 1, tenor saxophonist John Ellis, trombonist Peter Dahlgren, drummer Otis Brown III and pianist Danny Grissett -each then fall into orbit without reserve, fully knowledgeable of the speed bump hairpins ahead.

Like the spaghetti that sticks, there’s an implicit trickery to Mette-Iverson’s twisting musical trains of thought: they can derail at any moment or at least convince you handily they have so that, at the end of the day, what’s difference does it make? The music still conveys you to places only butterflies achieve which is why and only why “Dancing Butterflies” even exists. Ditto “Cluster” (where Grissett and Brown rise and rise and to the occasion) and other obtuse swingers as the anything-but-predictable title work-out and the winsome, two-part ballad “Parallel Flying Part 1” and “Parallel Flying Part 2” both a hushed, indigo series of memory tissue connected solos ala Bill Evansthat fire up and unquietly rage.

As evidenced explicitly on 2019’s Invincible Nimbus (Bjurecords); 2017’s Road Trip (Bjurecords); her debut This Is My House (Bjurecords, 2006) or any record in-between, Iverson, a mainstay and lynchpin of the tireless Brooklyn Jazz Underground has made some great records in pursuit of her vision of swing as a fixed though frayed and thrice curled ribbon around dazzling, little surprises. Remarkably, given the present state of things, Ellis, Brown, and Grissett have grounded most of her works, with their brimming dexterity shared by all who embrace Iverson’s nervy, high order, new swing pop.

01. Triangular Waves
02. Racing a Butterfly
03. Parallel Flying, Pt. 1
04. Parallel Flying, Pt. 2
05. Butterfly Interlude
06. Dancing Butterflies
07. Cluster
08. Reworking of a Butterfly
09. Butterflies Too

John Ellis (tenor saxophone),

Peter Dahlgren (trombone),

Danny Grissett (piano),

Iversen (bass)

Otis Brown III (drums & cymbals)

Racing a Butterfly | Anne Mette Iversen

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