Mikkel Ploug Trio At Black Tornado
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1. Waking Up
2. Comacina Dreaming
4. The Arch
5. Major Flows
9. The Rowing Club
10. Clear Thought
Official worldwide release date - April 13, 2015
At Black Tornado is the Whirlwind debut from guitarist Mikkel Ploug, a Denmark native currently based in Copenhagen with six previous albums released to worldwide acclaim. This new outing features his long-standing trio who've toured globally the past ten years and captures the feel, development, groove and joy of three like-minded musicians. With Jeppe Skovbakke on double bass and Sean Carpio on drums, the threesome have often toured and recorded in the company of renown musicians such as Mark Turner and Loren Stillman, but the goal of this new record was to capture the aesthetics they have come to inhabit as their own sound.
Ploug's new album unfolds with ease; listen as they settle into the first track 'Waking Up' and allow the music to evolve organically while hinting and exploring the DNA of the composition. Their sound, in part, stems from the mix of Carpio's ever evolving, longsighted rhythmic variations; the melodic and chordal Monk-inspired quirk of Mikkel's phrasing (along with his signature dusty and woody guitar tone); and Jeppe's 1950's inspired high string height— think no amp— double bass sound with the rootedness he brings as a result of touring with the popular Indie Rock band 'I Got You On Tape'.
The trio's aim for this recording was to play as 'live' in the studio as possible and as such their set up consisted of forming a circle configuration with no partitions, resembling their typical concert layout. In addition they approached the music as if performing a live concert: they played just one take of each song in a determined setlist order. There have been no edits or overdubs of any kind. To keep things fresh the forms were improvised at times as well, just listen in as Mikkel yells out “rhythm section up front!” during the count in to 'Comacina Dreaming'.
Mikkel explains, "The album was a sort of homecoming for us; a zone that occurs when the three of us come together and make music. It was also time for us to record again as a trio and focus our attention on that sound. We've done a lot of playing with wonderful musicians over the years, but for this record we wanted to document just the three of us and our development as a unit with our own identity. We're not in a rush with the music and we're very content in each other's company while still surprising and inspiring each other every time we play— it's a great situation to be in. I feel all this comes through in the music."
"A highly individual sound... A thoroughly enjoyable affair."
""Ploug is part of a generation of guitarists who absorbed as much from Radiohead as they did from Bill Frisell, so while there is all the openness and adventure of an improviser with his own distinctive language, it is informed by a more rugged, indie-rock sensibility, driven forward by Carpio’s subtle, ever-changing grooves."
★★★★ The Irish Times
"In all the band’s music there is a refreshing lack of interest in showing off technique with the focus resolutely on making good music, with simplicity or complexity neither here nor there. It’s a really lovely listen."
The Jazz Breakfast
"Recorded last year in intimate circumstances at Black Tornado Studios in Copenhagen, the location lending its name to the album title, the material is largely Ploug tunes, easily digestible in the main, at their best when the tidiness of the writing gives way to a sprawling spilling out beyond the bridge, a Nordic Americana the flavor."
"The music is deserving of the widest possible audience."
Bebop Spoken Here
"Appeals to a wider audience which will give them the greater exposure and recognition that they deserve."
Sandy Brown Jazz Reviews
"Guitarist Ploug’s trio session has a talkative style that’s plenty charismatic... rich textures and sharp melodicism keep the ear riveted throughout... occasional flourishes of folk-rock are a nice touch."
Bird Is The Worm
"A Danish guitarist with a sound partly reminiscent of Mark Ribot, his country-blues-ish twang is written all over this likeable, long-standing trio recording of his originals."
"The trio sounds as natural in the studio as on the live stage."
"A highly individual sound... the maximum economy executed without any note gluttony... A thoroughly enjoyable affair."
"Everything flows and as a result of a decade of existence of the trio is perfectly interlocked. Ploug has been one of the favorites of guitar nerds and certain magazines, now he should also be perceived beyond."
"Definitely worth listening to for people who think they have heard everything."
"Presents the fun, commonality and connection in groove of the three musicians who have toured extensively as a unit the last decade on jazz stages worldwide."
"Mikkel Ploug from Copenhagen plays a nimble guitar, semi-acoustic, Gibson, vintage look. And this vintage impression runs pleasantly through the whole album recorded together with bassist Jeppe Skovbakke and Sean Carpio on drums."
Sound And Image
"Quiet, prudent and careful, very harmonious and relaxed... much elegance is on broadcast... independent and original."
Musik An Sich
"A unique album."
"It's rare to hear a trio where the acoustic bass pulsates with such warmth, drums play so unpretentiously and refined yet at the same time with such strong rhythm, and guitar plays with such grace."
"Music full of inspiration and self-confidence."
"An emotional trip."
HiFi & Records
"Vibrant, interesting music."
Jazz NYT Blog (DK)