Pixel: We Are All Small Pixels

Album review
Pixel: We Are All Small Pixels


We Are Small Pixels

Label: Cuneiform
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

Pixel is a young Norwegian jazz quartet whose lead vocalist, bassist, and principal songwriter, Ellen Andrea Wang, is adept at all those roles. Their sound combines jazz elements with a pop sensibility during the vocal numbers that constitute about half the album. At times they may remind you of such early fusion artists as Weather Report, Passport, or Flora Purim—Wang’s bouncy bass lines, for example, have some Jaco in them— but this all-acoustic band has opted for a much more natural-sounding recording. The piano-less lineup of drums, double bass, sax, and trumpet gives each instrument room to breathe and helps produce an uncluttered sound augmented by a nimble rhythm section. Contrast is provided on “Night Dreamer,” “Sigma,” and “Daylight,” where saxophonist Harald Lassen switches from soprano to tenor and the band raises the energy level a few notches. Catchy melodies belie the intricacy of the music, beginning with the tricky vocal-and-horn unison lines, all delivered with razor-sharp precision and captured in a pristine and detailed recording. This accessible young band, true to jazz but with a fresh approach, renews my conviction that new artists exist who, with a little exposure, could help jazz reach a broader audience.

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  • primary artist, Pixel

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