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Mette Henriette - Drifting (ECM)

17 January 2023

Part of the new generation of ECM players taking the label tradition down new trails, Mette Henriette presents her second album. Appropriately titled Drifting, the rhythm section-less LP nimbly blends classical music melodicism and jazz improvisation to explore the clichéd notion of “chamber jazz” with a fresh ear. Accompanied by pianist Johan Lindvall and cellist Judith Hamann, Henriette paints a series of portraits, some long, some short, that unfold more than they move forward. Lindvall switches between providing a steady backdrop (the title track) and a main riff (“I villvind”) with which Henriette can interact, while Hamann underscores the interplay with the appropriate drone. The leader herself seems more interested in communicating the melodies than exhibiting her chops, letting tracks like “Crescent” and “Oversoar” marinate in their own tunefulness instead of slapping your face with technique. Drifiting neither demands attention nor seduces you for it, but instead simply lets itself be, allowing the listener to discover its charms at their own pace.