Anders Nilsson’s AORTA Ensemble

“Anders Nilsson’s AORTA Ensemble features an exceptional ensemble with a clear and focused vision.” – Eyal Harueveni, All About Jazz

Resonant Angel with a Heart made of Twine – This is a Swedish-American 7-piece made up of Mattias Carlson – flute, clarinet, alto, tenor sax / Cennet Jönsson – soprano, tenor sax, bass clarinet / David Carlsson – electric bass / Ken Filiano – double bass w. effects / Peter Nilsson – drums and percussion / Michael Evans – drums and percussion / and myself – electric guitar. Essentially this is AORTA + Fulminate Trio. We played our first concert in October ’08 at the KopaFest in Malmö, Sweden. The music is my first real foray into “orchestrated” music, gathering these improvisers to make a multidimensional, transparent music live within the open rooms of compositional frameworks. I was paying attention to background, middle ground, and foreground in setting up compositions that set the tone for a certain type of tension I am drawn to. Ever since hearing Wayne Shorter’s “SuperNova” & “Odyssey of Iska”, as well as Art Ensemble of Chicago I’ve been hooked on putting a band together, large enough to achieve a music that has several things going on at once – dimensions. The writing is mostly sketch-like, generating certain events, from where the players get to really play however they want and add to the picture – creating drama. Alongside these African-American jazz rarities, other big influences are Anton Webern and Arnold Schönberg whose small-scale orchestral “expressionist” music from a hundred years ago has captivated me since I first heard it. This is pre 12-tone era and the twists of focus, density, rhythm and volume along with use of “Klangfarbenmelodie” has long been a concept for composing. On a less technical note, there is a great sense of desperation, violence and vulnerability in their music that still grabs me and goes hand in hand with the painting style of the expressionists at the time in Vienna. I wanted to create something related to this, but handled by terrific improvisers. The music of Bernard Herrmann (the man behind the scores to “Psycho”, “Vertigo”, “Taxi Driver”, “Cape Fear” etc.) is a direct influence on my piece “SoundFear”. I’ve always been grabbed by his murky, moody, dramatic, suspense filled constructions.

link to the Anders Nilsson’s Aorta Ensemble album:

AORTA Ensemble photos: Ninja Agborn