Normally, i would steer clear of any piece of music with a title such as “& Friends” because this is almost always a promise of dull, uninspired and self-pleasing smut. But here in this case, it’s Bugge Wesseltoft, the great renovator of modern jazz and he gathered extraordinary artists from all over the world for his new album, titled just, well, “Bugge & Friends”. Also the artwork seems kind of troubled but let’s cast aside those obstacles and focus on the music – Bugges’ friends for this 7-piece-session are a colourful bunch, consisting of french trumpeter Erik Truffaz, turkish saxophonist Ilhan Ersahin, the US-based DJ & Producer Joaquin “Joe” Claussell, norvegian singer Beady Belle and a lot more. And once again, all of the tracks are a logical continuation of Wesseltofts “New Conception Of Jazz”, which incorporates a lot of different influences, sound sources and styles that altogether open up the basic structure of jazz to a more versatile and elaborate body of music far from purist and sectarian schools of thought. Breezy, free-flowing pieces sit next to disco-influenced tunes and contemplative tracks circling around subtle piano-themes that develop into stomping ensemble-pieces.
Sometimes a synth bolts the tune into focus, sometimes pieces are driven by various percussions, interlaced with the soaring trumpet. “Bugge & Friends” is an album that’s extremely rich and entertaining and maybe best heard with headphones on a breezy beach, if you get my drift. Don’t leave it playing while you do the dishes of try to get some work done, this is an album that demands some attention and you sure will be rewarded if you pay attention.