Release Date: May 14, 2013
Record label: Ninja Tune
Genre(s): Electronic, Classical, Jazz, Club/Dance, Classical Crossover, Progressive Jazz, Jazz-House, Miscellaneous (Classical), Modern Big Band
Jaga Jazzist have always had an immersive sound, and it's grown in grandiosity over the years. This majesty is elegantly enhanced in their collaboration with the renowned Britten Sinfonia, and feels more natural than the Metropole Orkest's mesmerizing take on Basement Jaxx (released in 2011). Despite the rich textures available to the Norwegian electronic-jazz collective, whose mingling with the Sinfonia fleshed out their numbers from nine to several dozen talented musicians, the performance shows almost as much restraint as audacity.
Given the depth of Jaga Jazzist's sophistication and their wide-ranging musical vision that encompasses everything from free jazz to hip-hop, from techno to funk, from rock to modern composition, this Norwegian ensemble is a natural partner for a collaboration with the internationally renowned Britten Sinfonia under the direction of Christian Eggen. The material was chosen from JJ's catalog (particularly from the One-Armed Bandit album, which they were touring in support of), and is beautifully arranged, performed, and recorded. While the lengthy treatment of "One-Armed Bandit" opens with strings, brass, and winds playing something that resembles a cadenza from one of the Sinfonia's namesake's symphonies, it quickly quiets down into the nearly pastoral for a few minutes before JJ enters with a persistent beat-head pulse, and the piece morphs into a symphonic, progressive jazz workout with a fantastic array of colors.
Jaga Jazzist, while not a household name to most people, is a group that has been together for many years now. The Norwegian experimental jazz band formed in 1994 as a group of teenagers with high aspirations and a love for music and songwriting. Featuring a deep line-up of members, Jaga Jazzist incorporates many sounds into their music, including trombone, trumpet, electric guitar, bass, vibraphone, bass clarinet, Fender Rhodes, tuba, and electronic synthesizers.