Mats Eilertsen: SkyDive




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SkyDive is the sixth album bass player, composer and bandleader Mats Eilertsen is releasing under his own name. His quartet has grown into a quintet since the release of the highly praised 2009 album Radio Yonder (HUBROCD2501) .

The members of the original quartet are still present:
saxophonist Tore Brunborg, who also plays together with Eilertsen in Tord Gustavsen’s current band, the exciting guitarist Thomas T. Dahl and the creative Finnish drummer Olavi Louhivuori, known from the Ilmiliekki Quartet and Tomasz Stanko’s band. The new team member is the extraordinarily sophisticated Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarila. Like Louhivuori, Tuomarila plays in Tomasz Stanko’s band.
Mats has found the perfect quintet to play his melodious, intricate and organic music. Intense beauty and fluid virtuosity. In this band the members are all equals and superlative players. The album was recorded at legendary Rainbow Studio by Jan Erik Kongshaug and was produced by Eilertsen himself. All the material is composed by Eilertsen. Highly recommended!




  1. “Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen’s bassist Mats Eilertsen reconvenes the fine band that recorded last year’s atmospheric Radio Yonder, but with the addition of Finnish pianist Alexi Tuomarila, a sideman with Tomasz Stanko, the Polish Miles Davis. Like Radio Yonder, this is a seductive collection of contemporary pieces – maybe delivered with more muscle than formerly, but without sacrificing the group’s power to hold attention by the most obliquely lyrical means.”
    – The Guardian, John Fordham (UK)

  2. “This is a group where each player subordinates himself to the overall group concept; no-one has a “starring” role, despite this being a minor galaxy of young stars, but the ear is drawn to the finesse of Brunborg´s floating saxophone lines and more especially Tuomarila´s effortless poise and brilliant, sparkling invention. Here is contemporary European jazz of the highest quality; understated and ccompelling, it is music that makes its point through eloquence and sensitivity.”
    – Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise 4/5 (UK)

  3. “SkyDive is a record that, once put on—whether it’s CD or vinyl, being available in both formats—becomes increasingly difficult to take off. In keeping with placing everyone else’s credits before his own, Eilertsen solos rarely, but his ability to create anchored interaction—as much a melodic foil as his band mates while, like them, ensuring that the needs to the song remain paramount—makes even the simplest contribution not just essential, but irreplaceable. Still, on the title track, his fragile bowing is featured—rich in harmonics and spare in articulation, it’s as undeniable as the robust pizzicato he reverts to later in the song and for most of the 50-minute set. SkyDive may not be his first recording as a leader, but if it’s a first encounter then it’s a superb entry point into a discography that, in its unassuming selflessness, does just the opposite, and brings increasing attention to a leader whose acumen as a performer is matched by his ability to write music that’s deceptive in its apparent simplicity, and his skill in putting together bands with just the right players to meet his vision of the moment.”
    – John Kelman, (USA/Canada)

  4. “Indeed the album as a whole is eminently accessible and capable of considerable across the board appeal. Eilertsen’s carefully crafted compositions are highly tuneful and the playing by the all star Scandinavian band excellent throughout. It’s a tightly focussed set with the emphasis on a distilled ensemble sound and with the leader adopting a particularly selfless approach as the anchor of the group.”
    – 4/5 (UK)

  5. “In turn intimate or playful, introspective or passionate, SkyDive is a particularly evocative and incisive record. At the helm of his formation, Mats Eilertsen is a discreet yet determined leader, and his quintet, itself a gathering of impressive young Scandinavian talents, is extremely tight and effective. With this to convey his well-thought compositions, SkyDive is undoubtedly proving his strongest work to date.”
    – TheMilkFactory 4.4/5 (UK)

  6. “Today is one of those days when I survey a huge pile of disks occupying my desk and try to reach out for a few, more or less at random. How or why did I miss these particular CDs? How long have they been waiting for this moment? Never mind regrets, denials or excuses – they’re playing right now. Today is one of those days when genres resurface and jolt my fatigued ears into new adventures, previously unexplored. One such journey comes courtesy of Mats Eilertsen, a Norwegian jazz bassist recording on Hubro and Aim Records. At first look from the cover of SkyDive, depicting a sandy beach and distant body of water, I picture the sounds of shoegaze or post-rock, and am unprepared when hit with a full on sound of contemporary jazz. We’re talking about cool piano keys, Fender Rhodes, saxophones, shuffling percussion, guitar, and of course, double-bass. The voluptuous melodies seem to effortlessly flow from this group of jazzy musicians, who are entangled in their intimate dance of music. I close my eyes and try to picture Eilertsen on the contrabass. An image of a jazz player behind this magnificent instrument surfaces, as he sways with the beat of the music, his eyes shut, lips muttering plosives in rhythm of plucks. There’s a whole other language to jazz – that which I now understand, no matter how abstruse and abstract. Perhaps it is my connection to the musicians behind each instrument which mutters the loudest. Perhaps it’s just the soul of music. Whatever the case, today is one of those days when I need it. And Eilertsen nails it with SkyDive.”

  7. “Was haben Tord Gustavsen, Jacob Young, Wolfert Brederode und Solveig Slettahjell gemeinsam? Den Bassisten Mats Eilertsen. Dass man ihn namentlich kaum kennt, ist seinem Instrument geschuldet, Bassisten stehen nun mal nicht in der ersten Reihe. Auch dann nicht, wenn sie selbst Bandleader sind. Mats Eilertsen geht es mit seinem Quintett um einen homogenen Bandsound bei der Umsetzung seiner filigranen, subtil groovenden Kompositionen und nicht um Erlösung aus seinem Hintergrunddasein. Das verschafft dem famosen Saxophon von Tore Brunborg und der luftigen E-Gitarre von Thomas Dahl die Spielräume für Exkursionen aus dem Doppelgeflecht von Melodien und Riffmotiven, die für den Komponisten Eilertsen typisch sind. Er selbst begnügt sich mit der klassischen Bassrolle und ist das dezent pochende Herz für den melodieverliebten Musikorganismus. Wenn es in diesem Jahr bislang eine „typisch nordische“ Aufnahme gegeben hat, dann Eilertsens „Sky Dive“.”
    – Heribert Ickerott, Jazzpodium (DE)

  8. “Der Bassist Mats Eilertsen legt mit ‘SkyDive’ sein sechstes Album vor. Es ist eines, das filigranes Teamwork mit Energie verbindet, Freiheit mit Genauigkeit. Die Stücke atmen in großen Bögen. Eingängige melodische Passagen reiben sich an gruppendynamischen Improvisationen. Eine höchst gelungene CD, spannungsgeladen bis ins Detail. Die fünf (unter ihnen zwei tolle Finnen: Alexi Tuomarila und Olavi Louhivuori) entfernen sich vom Thema und vergessen doch nie das Zentrum. Hier scheint der sogenannte Nordic Sound nicht weit weg von Brooklyn oder Manhattan.”
    – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (DE)

  9. “Siden den kritikerroste «Radio Yonder» kom i 2009 har Mats Eilertsen utvidet kvartetten sin med pianist Alexi Tuomarila, kollega med kvintettens andre finne, Olavi Louhivuori i Tomasz Stanko Quintet. Og med en slik bandklang trekker Mats Eilertsen linjene tilbake til Nordens første jazz-storhetstid, med Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stensson og Palle Danielsson i spissen. Det er nemlig noe tidløst over komposisjonene, soundet og samspillet på «Skydive». Det beste ordet jeg finner er rett og slett lekkert. Nesten så lekkert at det svir i øynene av all stråleglansen fra de fem glødende musikerne. Nesten så lekkert at det til tider låter i overkant blankpolert og velklingende. Gitarist Thomas Dahl er for eksempel ikke den mest slående solisten her, men viser igjen frem sin utrolige sans for fargeleggende bakgrunnsvirksomhet i toppklasse. Supervakkert.”
    – Svein Magnus Furu, Jazznytt (N)

  10. “Strålande sjette album(…) Landskapet på omslaget andar av ro, på same måte som opninga «Splendour», der Thomas T. Dahls gitar slår an tonen, Alexi Toumarilas piano kjem etter, så også ein saksofontone eg skal kjenne att kvar som helst på kloden, frå Tore Brunborg, og bassen til Mats Eilertsen ligg trygt i botnen saman med trommene til Olavi Louhivuori.
    Det er musikk som fyller deg med velvære.”
    – Roald Helgheim, Dagsavisen (N)

  11. “Det er ikke om å gjøre å alltid ha beina plantet på jorden. Noen ganger er det fint å miste fotfestet. Siden det forrige soloalbumet, «Radio Yonder» (2009), som mange kanskje husker for den fine tolkningen av «Hunting High And Low», har komponist og bassist Mats Eilertsen utvidet bandet til kvintett. Og her henger musikerne sammen som formasjonshoppere. Alle like viktige, frie og avhengige av hverandre på samme tid. Og det er like fint å oppleve for oss andre også. (…)nyansene er mer subtile her oppe. Små vendinger i takten, fine detaljer som når to instrumenter følger etter hverandre som svaler over sommerengen, eller den eviggrønne melodilinjen i «The Pilot’s Choice». Om du lar deg følge med, kjenner du hvordan Eilertsen & Co stiger, rir på luftstrømmer, faller i tomrom, løfter seg opp igjen, seiler videre og lander trygt og silkemykt på bakken.”
    – Per A. RisnesDagens, Næringsliv (N)

  12. “«Skydive» er en nytelse av soistikert vakker musikk som samtidig har motstand og utfordringer nok i seg til at den aldri blir uinteressant. Her er hymner som «Parachute Psalm» og den eksperimentelle, lett oppjagede «The Void», ytterpunkter i en helstøpt jazzplate som det er lett å anbefale.”
    – Olav Gorseth, Bergens Tidende, 5/6 (N)

  13. “Eilertsen har satt sammen et band som er så gjennomempatisk som vel tenkelig – her er det fem lyttende herrer som ikke har behov for å fremheve seg sjøl i noe større grad enn det er naturlig. Det betyr på ingen måte at de ikke har noe å melde som solister, tvert i mot, vi har nemlig med noen av Europas aller mest uttrykksfulle musikanter å gjøre. Mats Eilertsen har rukket veldig mye i løpet av sine 36 år. «SkyDive» er hans foreløpige høydepunkt.”
    – Tor Hammerø,, 5/6 (N)

  14. “Brunborg er den primære melodifortelleren og løser oppgaven på majestetisk vis, og i likhet med de øvrige improviserer han nær melodien og dens ofte overraskende modulasjoner og akkordskifter. Nettopp disse små vriene og den helhjertede musiseringen holder det hele på den riktige siden av «motstandsløst», et vesentlig trekk siden bandet til tider låter så overveldende rikt og heldekkende at selve lydbildet feier all motstand til side.”
    – Terje Mosnes, Dagbladet, 5/6 (N)

  15. “Mats Eilertsen slår ut i full blomst med et vakkert og gjennomarbeidet album fullt av fine melodier. Mats Eilertsen fra Trondheim har for lengst etablert seg som en av de fremste bassistene og komponistene i norsk jazz. Han har opptrådt i en rekke ulike sammenhenger, og har de siste årene også hatt en solokarriere på stigende kurs. På «Skydive» når han et foreløpig høydepunkt.”
    – Trygve Lundemo, Adresseavise, 5/6 (N)