If an album can create pathos and a special atmosphere, then it is a good album. This is what immediately comes to mind when listening to Suite for the Seagulls for the first time. For this album, two among the best contemporary jazz bands – the Norwegian Norchestra and the Italian Gnu Quartet – have joined together to give life to a suite drawing inspiration from the seagulls that live along the western coast of Norway.
Suite for the Seagulls opens with The Creation, a vibrant track that harmoniously combines Norchestra’s groove jazz and the “rock-stained” classical music sound of Gnu Quartet. The whole album revolves around a constant, lively and perfectly-timed dialogue between different instruments, which breathes life into five movements that smoothly flow into one another, as complementary pieces of a thorough, uninterrupted music discourse.
The vivid sounds of The Creation are followed by the delicate, dreamy Serenity, characterised by an amazing phrasing between the viola and the guitar, the same found in the more sober and solemn Requiem for a Dying Seagull. The latter is probably the most fascinating track in the entire album, with an escalating rhythm in which the melancholic mood stemming from a delicate balance between viola, guitar, and flute is sustained by the gentle and yet determined jazz rhythm of the drums.
Progressive and free-jazz echoes can be perceived while listening to Mediterranean Seagull, the second last track in the album, which – also thanks to an almost-foley improv by the viola and the sudden changes in rhythm – is one of the most surprising and original tracks in the entire album.
Suite for the Seagulls is closed by the charming Country, a track that reflects the proud, fascinating soul of the collaboration between these two bands, whose original project is based upon the harmonious blend of the rock-style classical music of the Gnu Quartet and Norchestra’s minimal jazz.
Country, in its own way, is a track that combines jazz, folk, rock, and love for travelling – to the extent that it is not difficult at all, while listening, to imagine being at sea, onboard a large sailing ship en route towards the horizon, ready to chase new adventures.