Over nigh-on three hours, the Orchestra passes through myriad dynamic modes and stylistic shifts - sometimes blazing, sometimes simmering; at times explicitly jazz-based, often drawing on freer, less definable sources. On a dry, technical level, Bandwidth is superb - so microscopically precise and detailed you can almost hear spit valves glistening. Far more importantly, it´s a captivating document of a squirmy, protean and inexhaustibly fertile collective that remains constantly engrossing throughout its heroic running time.
Kevin Norton´s spectral vibraphone gives the music a defining shimmer, like watching the aurora on an October night, with some summer warmth still in the ground. Bradford is present again, and pairing cornet with tuba (Børre Mølstad) instead of trombone gives the brass an imaginative tonal and timbral twist. Gjerstad and Sabir Mateen share reed duties, both of them able to make the clarinet sound like a distinct instrument and not a slack double.
The Wire (UK)
CTO's sound could be described as "Bitches Brew goes to Norway", with the raucous, percussive electronics of Lasse Marhaug, Morten Johan Olsen and guitarist Anders Hana replacing the wah-wah guitars and keyboards of the Davis group; in addition, Bobby Bradford's cornet features prominently, his Ornettey clarion interjections often signalling a change in direction. The rhythm section is an extraordinary team, pairing bassists Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Nick Stephens and drummers Louis Moholo-Moholo and Paal Nilssen-Love; on the third disc, Nilssen-Love and Håker Flaten (off touring with Atomic) are replaced by Hamid Drake and electric bassist Per Zanussi, and the rhythms are somewhat more rigid and less free-flowing.
This collection is highly recommended. With performances of this duration each incremental listen highlights something new to the listener's experience, whether it's the clarinet interplay between Gjerstad and the remarkably simpatico Sabir Mateen or their scorching alto/tenor saxophone face-off on the second part of disc 2 leading to a free-for-all, or the way Børre Mølstad's tuba supplements Bradford and the rhythm section on the first disc's opening cut. I doubt I'll run out of enjoyable things to discover in these fine performances.
Led by reed player Frode Gjerstad, the Circulasione Totale Orchestra is an allstar team for the ages. Bandwidth features Louis Moholo-Moholo, Sabir Mateen, Bobby Bradford, Paal-Nilssen-Love and Hamid Drake among its 14 members. At the same time, this is a three-CD set, making it something more like a marathon than a ball game. If they are
runners, though, they are still a running team and they cohere as a unit. Delivering the keynote solo on cornet, Bobby Bradford sets a responsive tone, leaving space for the rest to punctuate... A push and pull dynamic characterizes the collection as a whole. Glacial coagulations will occur at times, with a real drama of their own, inciting anticipation as to what the ravage and rupture on the following sonic terrain will be. The electroacoustic mix of instruments itself, as it so often is, proves an objective correlative for the natural and manmade amalgam of phenomena that characterizes our world. It remains an open question if even art, any more than technology, can help us cope sometimes with global crises. Humans, whether artist or otherwise, are organisms - and even a microorganism can rehabilitate a habitat when the occasion arises.
Allaboutjazz, New York (US)
...Solos gibt es meist eingebettet in das wogende Kollektiv, dem man anhört, dass alle mitdenken und mitfiebern für die richtigen Momente, um einem den Fuchs durchs gesträubte Haar zu jagen. So entstand total zeitgemäße Musik, polymorph, polyzentrisch, subsidiär, inklusiv, immer wieder so krass und furios, dass sie einen zu Lustschreien mitreißt, aber fähig, mit nur einem Atemzug umzuschalten von Hitzewallungen zum urigen Grollen oder feinen Hauch.
Bad Alchemy (DE)
...om noen frijazzplate burde få sprenge seg inn i platehyller og lytterhoder, er det denne. Anført av den amerikanske kornettveteranen Bobby Bradford (f. 1934) leverer det store ensemblet inspirert musikalsk historiefortelling så levende og kraftfull at utgivelsen øyeblikkelig aspirerer til klassikerstatus i sjangeren. 6/6.