A Tonic For The Troops have, after extensive touring, established themselves as a tight collective with high octane performances providing enjoyable and accessible jazz.
After several ‘top of the year’ lists for their debut album Ambush, ATFTT are joining forces again for their second album! The ingredients still consist of straight ahead post-bop with a modern and contemporary sound, but ‘Realm of Opportunities’ also opens up a more lyrical and emotional approach.
Ellen Brekken has established herself as one of the most versatile bass players in Norway today. In A Tonic For The Troops we can see her evolution as a composer as well, with a firm grasp of melody and development, demonstrated in cinematic and suite-like tunes.
The band utilises the strengths of some of the most energetic performers on the Norwegian jazz scene today, leading successful bands in their own right. Espen Berg (piano), Magnus Bakken (sax) and Magnus Sefaniassen Eide (drums) all bring great solo contributions too, but the band´s real secret weapons are both their playful interaction and also their openness to using a melting-pot of musical ideas.
The title track ‘Realm of Opportunities’ is a cornucopia of rhythmic energy and strong soloing on top of a bouncy and joyful accompaniment.
‘Song for the Resilient’ is dedicated to the women in Iraq and Afghanistan who fiercely fight against oppressive regimes. Ellen shares –The situation for our sisters in these two countries is terrible and utterly unbearable. Their denial of basic human rights makes me incredibly sad and angry. However, we also see their incredible strength and endurance, and I am certain that a new dawn will come for them. ‘Jon’ is a loose, laid back and positive tune and is an homage to the late Jon Christensen, one of the most iconic jazz drummers of all time. He paved the way for present as well as upcoming generations of jazz musicians with his extremely delicate and unmistakable touch in addition to his humble but solid presence.
We enter another mode in the calm ‘Arctic waltz’, before the last track ‘A cup of Ambition’, whose title is picked from Dolly Parton’s classic ‘9-5’, closes the album with an upbeat tune that´s just pure fun!
A Tonic For The Troops demonstrate once again with ‘Realm of Opportunities’ that their energy and motivation are at their peak, showcasing a life-affirming band in top shape!