The 1983 debut album of the Norwegian supergroup Masqualero is a modern classic in Norwegian jazz history. Now the album is being released in a new edition on CD and on 180 g LP, with remastered sound and insightful liner notes written by Terje Mosnes.
From trio to quintet
He did not actually have a trio put together at that point, but pianist Jon Balke and drummer Jon Christensen, two musicians he had played with often throughout the years, were both ready to form a trio when he approached them with the idea. Balke (b. 1955), who had been the pianist in the first Arild Andersen Quartet from 1974 to 1976, was pursuing a wide-ranging solo career. Christensen (b. 1943) and Andersen had worked together since the second half of the 1960s in a number of connections, with Karin Krog, Jan Garbarek and Radka Toneff’s groups as their most well-known collaborations. So it would not take much rehearsal before they could put together a set list. But Christensen had a suggestion: What if they expanded the trio into a quintet? He had recently been on a club gig in Oslo with two rapidly rising young stars, Tore Brunborg and Nils Petter Molvær (both b. 1960), and had been so impressed that he wanted to repeat their success. On the day of the concert, while on their way to Kongsberg in Andersen’s Volkswagen bus, the brand new ad-hoc quintet listened to a cassette of the Miles Davis Quintet in Juan-les-Pins in 1969, which Andersen had been given by an acquaintance. The tune they listened to, and reproduced on stage that evening to the best of their ability, was Wayne Shorter’s “Masqualero”. The rest is history. The Kongsberg gig was the first of many for a band that quickly became an audience favourite in Norway and the rest of Scandinavia.
A Norwegian favourite
The album was recorded in the course of three days: two days of studio recording and one of mixing with Jan Erik Kongshaug at Talent Studio. There and then they recorded the eight original tunes that, along with Shorter’s title track, comprise the LP “Masqualero”. The five original tunes that form the bonus material on the CD version, released in 1996, were also from the original three days in the studio. This is a highly energetic album, with a dynamic approach. After releasing their debut album on the ODIN label the group released three albums on ECM between 1986 and 1991. When “Masqualero” was released in the autumn of 1983, the album was received with unanimous critical acclaim, and won the Spellemannspris (Norwegian Grammy) for best jazz record of the year. The band would subsequently take home two more of these awards, for “Bande à Part” (ECM, 1986) and “Re-enter” (ECM, 1991).
About the re-release
Remastered by Jan Erik Kongshaug and Arild Andersen at Rainbow Studio. Lacquers for the LP edition cut at SST in Germany. 180 g vinyl. The LP version has the same tracks and track order as the original LP from 1983. The CD is different from the 1996 version in that the bonus tracks have been moved to the end of the CD and are not included within the original track order. Liner notes: Terje Mosnes.