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Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy — Out of the Blue (October 16, 2015)

Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy — Out of the Blue (October 16, 2015)

 Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy — Out of the Blue (October 16, 2015)
♣   Visceral, vivid and uncompromising, Out of the Blue picks up where eCsTaSy left off. Raoul Björkenheim and his eCsTaSy band continue to conjure up a new set of fresh ideas for each track, and leverage an ample supply of intuition and musicianship to make it work right.                                  © Raoul Bjorkenheim at Moers Festival 2006, Germany
Born: 1956, Los Angeles
Location: Finland ~ Los Angeles, CA, US
Album release: October 16, 2015
Genre: Jazz | Guitar 
Record Label: Cuneiform Records
Duration:     41:26
Tracks:
1. Heads & Tales    7:07
2. Quintrille     3:41
3. A Fly In the House Of Love     6:01
4. Uptown     4:44
5. You Never Know     2:42
6. OLJ     3:21
7. Roller Coaster     3:42
8. Zebra Dreams     10:08
Personnel:
≡♦   Raoul Björkenheim: electric guitar
≡♦   Pauli Lyytinen: bass, tenor and soprano saxophones, mey
≡♦   Jori Huhtala: double bass
≡♦   Markku Ounaskari: drums
♦≡   Recorded 19–21 November 2014 at E–Studio, Helsinki.
♦≡   Produced by Raoul Björkenheim.
♦≡   Engineered by Jyri Riikonen.
♦≡   Mastered by Petri Majuri.
♦≡   Cover photo by Jorma Male.
♦≡   Band photos by Rémi Angeli.
♦≡   Music by Raoul Björkenheim except 6 by Jori Huhtala and 3, 5, 8 by eCsTaSy.                                                     © Photo credit: Angeli Remi
♦≡   “I...was stunned by his Hendrix meets late era Coltrane approach.” — Guitar Moderne
♦≡   “Despite the boilingly hot drive...influenced by Cream, Lifetime, the Jimi Hendrix Experience (and perhaps more notionally the Pete Cosey/Reggie Lucas version of the Miles Davis group), there’s a lyrical side to the guitarist’s playing as well...Excellent.” — Point Of Departure
♦≡   “...out jazz with lots of sass and vigor...recalls the thornier side of the ECM Records catalog, especially the works of fellow Scandinavians Edward Vesala and Terje Rypdal. Björkenheim attacks the guitar the way the late great Sonny Sharrock did — like Coltrane and Ayler “attacked” their saxophones...yet blues is never very far away. There’s also the chunky focus of pre–Mahavishnu John McLaughlin...The way RB cross–pollinates between jazz and rock recalls fellow traveler Nels Cline, and the results are similar: Oblique swing, gnarly noise, predictably unpredictable, swell.” — Icon
© Photo credit: Angeli Remi ♦≡   Ecstasy is usually an all too fleeting experience offering the briefest glimpse at transcendence. But a heightened sense of consciousness and discovery manifests throughout Out of the Blue, the transporting second album by composer and guitar maestro Raoul Björkenheim and his extraordinary Finnish quartet Ecstasy.
♦≡   Featuring the celebrated drummer Markku Ounaskari, the young and dauntingly prolific bassist Jori Huhtala and saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen, Ecstasy has forged more than a signature sound. Over the course of five years the musicians have honed a supremely interactive modus operandi marked by unstable textures, rapidly shifting meters, and emotionally charged melodic flights. Earthy, pristine and unmistakably Nordic, the music evokes the grandeur of Finnish landscapes and the hothouse intimacy of a tight–knit Helsinki scene where the musicians regularly convene to refine their volatile sound.
♦≡   Out of the Blue is the transporting second album by composer and guitar maestro Raoul Björkenheim and his extraordinary Finnish quartet Ecstasy. Featuring the celebrated drummer Markku Ounaskari, the young and dauntingly prolific bassist Jori Huhtala and saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen, Ecstasy has forged more than a signature sound. Over the course of five years the musicians have honed a supremely interactive modus operandi marked by unstable textures, rapidly shifting meters, and emotionally charged melodic flights. Earthy, pristine and unmistakably Nordic, the music evokes the grandeur of Finnish landscapes and the hothouse intimacy of a tight–knit Helsinki scene where the musicians regularly convene to refine their volatile sound.
♦≡   “I always felt there’s something special about having a band,” Björkenheim says. “An all–star session can be good too, but the thing I’m missing nowadays in jazz is really good bands playing together tightly, turning on a dime together, and especially improvising together.”
♦≡   “Björkenheim has been well regarded since his 1980s work…but his recent releases have been particularly memorable.” — Stereophile
♦≡   “While the quartet, fueled by the muscular bashing of Markku Ounaskari, explodes with blowtorch intensity on the free–jazz opener “Heads and Tales”, they settle into the infectiously funky second–line groover “Quintrille” with harmonic chemistry.” — Downbeat May 2016
♦≡   “Out of the Blue is clearly the sort of recording that offers new discoveries and fresh perspectives with each spin.” — Jazztimes
♦≡   “eCsTaSy roams just inside and outside the perimeters of jazz, and the players subscribe to the gospel of impulse as much as they adhere to even the outer regions of jazz.” — Something Else
Website: http://www.raoulbjorkenheimecstasy.net/
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Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy — Out of the Blue (October 16, 2015)

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