That’s Why “The Best Of That’s Why” | Jazzman Records
Jazzman Records continues their voyage in the year of 2012 with the expedition and unearthing in some of the greatest gems from deep pockets of this world that one could only begin to wonder how the original tapes were acquired. One of the newest releases from the camp comes in an extension of one of the groups featured on the recent Spiritual Jazz 3 set, That’s Why. Instead of focusing on a specific album, the label decided to prepare a best of set that encompasses material from two LP’s the group penned and put to tape in 1970 and 1971. That’s Why are a rare group whose religious communication and creativity through music is unparalleled. In terms of why they were created, their purpose here and the type of music they choose to represent this purpose, nobody comes close to what they achieved.
As a very talented cast of artists from many of Norway’s music organizations through churches whose creation and purpose served Christ, That’s Why was centered around founding members Jan Simonsen and Per Arne Lovold. The two bridged the idea of modal spiritual jazz and lush forms of world fusion into the ideology and belief system of the Christian faith that served them and their families. It’s an unlikely story of sorts where the hierarchy in these men’s churches sought out to reach younger generations through music that was of another nature. Still elegant, still reflective of the churches aesthetic, this new form and style brought a lively presence to the people of Norway who were a part of this cultural movement in the church system. As the Pentecostal movement ushered in a new form of music that spoke of new traditions, this sub movement That’s Why created held the same cultural importance to its people as anything from the past. To get a collection of the music that represents this period of history is invaluable, a priceless gift to those who are always looking for the furthest and most spiritual extensions of the jazz idiom.
In the first few bars of the opening number “Children Of The Future Age”, the purpose and design of this group is set out in lyric form. A call to the youth is apparent and the response of this generation when looking back into history is unmatched. The deep musings of the acoustic guitar are pronounced in a forward direction with how the music is mixed. The light dynamic sense of drums and percussion stand down besides rumbling piano and majestic vocal work. It’s a tapestry of sound that is every part beautiful as it is inspirational. What could one ask for more when listening to the sounds that represent their faith in such a harmonious yet sophisticated and modern light? You can feel the religious aura on every song, regardless of the music pallet used. “Vem Kan Sagla” is a more traditional song from the group, showing the subtle beauty between long passages of flute that are interwoven around vocals that stretch into many octaves. I feel the deep roots of the European tradition of sound in this piece. The drum brush strokes, deep stand up bass, acoustic guitar strumming and background vocals set a passionate tone that moves me deeply. The track then stretches open into a post bop influenced run that is spell binding. The vocalists are humming out tones and the essence of their sound is connected to a higher being. Through out every piece, there are all these moments where you feel the religious energy that was absorbed into the analog recording. Lush, vibrant and for the people, this is music that can never be recreated.
There are so many bright and heavy moments on this best of collection. It’s one of the most unique approaches to European modal jazz of the spiritual side and has the soulful, organic, vibrant feeling of the most well known jazz pioneers from America and Europe. The Best Of That’s Why is something you have to check out.
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