The following review is an excerpt from Something in the Air (November 2017) which can be read in its entirety here.
A similar situation is delineated on the aptly-titled Everything is a Translation (Fiil Free Records FFR0916 larsfiil.dk); a suite composed by Danish pianist Lars Fiil and interpreted by the Fiil Free septet of five Danes, Swedish guitarist Henrik Olsson and Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski. Composed so that each subsequent track bleeds into the next, the five sequences go through sections of speed and static, Arcadian lulls and aggressive outbursts. Symbolically the session also marks how completely Dąbrowski has integrated Scandinavian ethos. Unlike some showcases where the soloist seems to be jammed on top of the ensemble, the trumpeter’s muted grace notes are present from the first track Why Search for Common Ground, with textures reflecting back onto Fiil’s low-frequency, Lisztian chording and offhanded cracks and swats by drummer Bjørn Heebøll and vibraphonist Martin Fabricius. There’s such bonding that the tempo speeding up and becoming more swinging almost passes unnoticed. Later instances such as a blustering brass call plus piano pumps show how to fearlessly inhabit the groove between hard bop and cool. That piece fades seamlessly into the neo-pastoral title tune, where sour brass whistles in counterpoint to smeared reed lines also don’t upset the narrative flow or detract from the overall beauty. At the same time, since the suite is sturdy and organically constructed to highlight beautiful colours, it never lapses into mere landscaping. To demonstrate its modernity and the versatility of the players, a track like Is It Doubt includes brass shakes and mouthpiece kisses from the trumpeter that keep the relaxed piano and decorative vibraphone narrative from sounding too comfortable.