Norwegian saxophonist and composer Mette Henriette established herself as a major talent while in her teens, becoming a vital member of the country's creative music community. She was in the Aello trio and the Torg ensemble and worked with a broad array of artists including Sidsel Endresen, Karin Krog and Tim Berne. In 2015 Henriette released her self-titled debut on the ECM label. The highly praised double album featured a trio on one disc and a large orchestra on the other. It seemed that the debut was the exciting start of a limitless career. But eight years passed without Henriette following up on the album. Drifting, a trio recording, is the long-awaited return of a standout artist.
Henriette is joined by Swedish pianist Johan Lindvall who also appeared on the saxophonist's first release. Lindvall leads his namesake trio which produced three albums including the fine This Is Not About You (Jazzland Records, 2022). The Austrian cellist and composer Judith Hamann earned a Ph.D. in Musical Arts and has led/co-led on seven eclectic albums. She works across, chamber music, classical, electronic and ambient genres and is a perfect colleague for Henriette's wide-ranging tastes.
Drifting is a series of fifteen, mostly brief vignettes, six tracks coming in at under two minutes. The title is indicative of the flow in these compositions. Through the progression of pieces, there is a sense of wandering but not without focus. "The 7th" opens the album followed by "Across The Floor," moving from elegiac to pastoral. The full, opulent sound of "I Villvind" glides into the pensive, delicate "Cadat." "0°" and "Solsnu" are ambient and tone and atmosphere drift into a minimal melody.
Drifting's destination is nebulous. Henriette's music combines elements of quietly atmospheric jazz and classical music, creating a sound that is both ethereal and spiritual. She builds bridges with collaborators experienced in exploring similar possibilities. The leader's melodic phrases and gentle tone were part of her diverse debut album but they dominate the inspiring Drifting. It is an excellent album, timeless, with a circular quality, and best listened to in its entirety.
The 7th; Across the floor; I villvind; Cadat; Chassé; Drifting; Oversoar; Rue du Renard; Indrifting you; A Choo; Ciedda, fas; 0°; Solsnu; Crescent; Divining.
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