Eivind Opsvik

Overseas 2

Fresh Sound New Talent

Eivind Opsvik (b), Tony Malaby (ts), Loren Stillman (as), Jacob Sacks (p, celeste, Wurlitzer), Craig Taborn (org, celeste, Wurlitzer), Kenny Wollesen, Jeff Davis (d)

Reference: FSNT-219

Bar code: 8427328422192

This is the second leader-session by the acclaimed Norwegian composer and bassist Eivind Opsvik for Fresh Sound New Talent. Since moving to New York in 1998 Eivind has been working on his own compositions and concepts and, in early 2002, he assembled some of his favourite musicians in the city, some of whom he's played with for years and some who are more recent acquaintances, with the intention of doing gigs around the city and to record a CD. In selecting musicians for his band Eivind favoured open-mindedness, individuality and musicians with experience from the free music scene who would give his music a certain edge and energy. Eivind has tried to avoid predictable forms and instrumentations, without sacrificing the wholeness and spontaneity of the music. Being from Norway Eivind's music is a combination of two worlds; the European and the New York jazz scene. European melody and space combined with the grooves/rhythms and intensity of New York. Essential listening for all fans of new and interesting jazz mixed with pop sensibilities and a fresh breath of northern air.


1. Planned Future 7:44
2. Maritime Safety 4:06
3. Peacetime 4:37
4. Craig plays Celeste 1:00
5. Tilt of Timber 6:43
6. Escapades 4:54
7. Still the Tiger Town 2:54
8. Stranded 6:43
9. Jacob plays Celeste 0:55
10. Ah! Aground Again 4:02
11. Kapp det Gode Håp 3:27

All compositions by Eivind Opsvik (©Tono) except track 4 and 9, improvisations by Craig Taborn and Jacob Sacks.
Recorded at Avatar Studios in New York City on December 12th and 13th, 2004.


"Because of the instrumentation on Overseas IIspecifically the lack of guitarand because there is so much lyricism in Eivind Opsvik's music, one might hesitate to call it fusion. Yet on one hand, pronounced backbeats inevitably emerge out of the flying cross-rhythms set up by Opsvik's gigantic bass and the rest of the rhythm section. On the other, Opsvik's intricate and varied compositions are hardly the one-dimensional vamps that only too often characterize so much fusion. Opsvik writes very engaging compostions with considerable variety and harmonic interest, and the musicians here make the most of it.
Tony Malaby is certainly one of the most impressive of the younger saxophonists emerging today, and his appearance on Overseas II lifts it above the ordinary and makes it worth checking out. Time and again, Malaby plays with relentless invention, and he is especially compelling on Planned Future and Tilt Of Timber. Although the other musicians play extremely well, this turns out to be Malaby's show to a large extent.
Opsvik himself is a sturdy, inventive bassist with a huge, woody tone and rock-solid time. His consistently probing lines are a major factor in the overall success of this music. Both Kenny Wolleson and Jeff Davis contribute driving and varied drum work, meshing beautifully with Opsvik.
Altoist Loren Stillman maintains the lyrical mood, particularly on Tilt Of Timber. The keyboard players provide atmospheric comping, and on Still The Tiger Town, Craig Taborn plays a whirling organ solo that is a highlight of the album. Another highlight is Escapades, a feature for the leader's bass, in which his work is thoughtful, measured, and stately.
So maybe the ballads take Overseas II out of the realm of fusion. Much of today's most interesting and challenging music readily crosses genre boundaries. This album is no exception, and if you like Tony Malaby, you'll appreciate it, no question."
- Marc Meyers, All About Jazz


"Eivind Opsvik is going to be very interesting to watch over the next couple of years. The bassist is forging an identity that belies simple labeling and is creating an interesting body of work. Overseas II is the second release under his own name for the Fresh Sound New Talent label and continues where the fine 2002 release Overseas left off.
Like his first release, Overseas II features a stellar cast of musicians presented in varying group formats from solo celeste recitals to quintet formations. Yet the recording never fails to maintain focus in overall sound or concept. (I hesitate to label this music as part of the burgeoning Norwegian sound, but the term is apt.) From the onset of the opening track, Planned Future, one can clearly distinguish this album from anything else currently being produced. An almost lullaby-like line from Jacob Sacks' celeste sets the stage for a slow stroll featuring Tony Malaby, who eventually builds the song's simple structure into a torrid solo.
And as invigorating as these solos may be, the underlying compositions are far from the common soloing vehicle, working within a logic of their own that's complimented by each additional composition. The barely minute-long Craig Taborn Plays Celeste serves the album concept, rather than simply providing a breathing space before the next track. Ultimately it is Taborn and Jacob Sacks who really serve as the binding material throughout the album, whether playing celeste, piano, wurlitzer, or organ. The two compliment each other and Opsviks music so well that one can scarcely imagine the album with anyone else holding down these chairs.
However, the fire or idiosyncratic voices Taborn and others may employ on their own albums is subdued here, the overall sound only disrupted occasionally by Malaby or Loren Stillman moving above the rest of the group and only in context. This is another achievement for the album: like with Overseas, it is wonderful to see everyone work within context and not for personal gain. An achievement that, when coupled with all the others, amounts to another fine album from Eivind Opsvik. Where and how he continues to develop is going to be a very interesting ride indeed."
- Michael McCaw, All About Jazz


"Opsvik has a very personal style, whether it be integrating the celeste into his music or refining an approach to jazz that is unique and personal"
- Stuart Nicholson, JazzWise (UK) August 05


The attraction here is a sense of innocence, as the casual mingling of styles with good writing leaves the listener pleasantly perplexed
- John Ephland, Downbeat (US) August 05


With a strong ear for melody, Opsviks tunes are refreshingly direct in a landscape proliferated with advanced structures and chart-driven complexity... With surprisingly consistent writing and highly accessible tunes, Opsvik has a world of talent at his disposal
- Troy Collins, One Final Note.com (US) August 05


He writes present-day jazz material unlike anything else in the market.
- All About Jazz NYC (US) July 05


"Opsvik gives steady support to a set of his warm, pop-informed music. On 'Planned Future' for example, drummer Jeff Davis, Opsvik and Tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby edge closer and closer to ragged free improv, even as Jacob Sacks maintains a dreamy triplet-pattern melody on the celeste to the very end"
- JazzTimes (US) October 2005


"The mix leads to a disc with an anything-goes esthetic, chockfull of concise tunes that are by turns brash or mysterious... The musicians on this disc mix precision and abandon in their playing. Seek out this cliche-free work"
- Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen (CAN) September 05


His music is fresh and new, carried out by a inner necessity... More than recommended. Check it out!
- Jazz Special (DK) August 05


A beautiful follow up to Overseas ...strong and clear, rhythmically complex, compositions with original melodic lines
- Jazznytt (N) August 05


The bassist is forging an identity that belies simple labeling and is creating an interesting body of work. From the onset of the opening track, Planned Future, one can clearly distinguish this album from anything else currently being produced
- All About Jazz.com (US) August 05


"Overseas II" has become the confirmation we expected Eivind Opsvik would come with - he's now on his way up to the top notch both as a bandleader, musician and composer
- Puls.no (N) June 05


$11.91  (tax incl.)

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