Almugi is an ancient Scandinavian word that means ‚free men of the Kingdom who possess the ability of goodness‘ and also the name for the new quartet of danish brass player and composer Mads la Cour.
Kasper Tom Christiansen (drum), Andreas Lang (double bass) and Lars Greve (clarinet) are joining Mads la Cour (cornet) in this quartet to play la Cour’s music with the intention of creating an honest, interactive and beautiful sound world.
Mads la Cour’s Almugi comes with a highly personal sound that explores a modern context of the Nordic region. The music is a reflection of la Cour’s unique compositional voice that features his highly personal playing style. This is organically developed contemporary jazz, with a wide variety of inspirations, from folk to avant-garde that nurtures a freely tonal language within collective improvisations.
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I am very glad that this pearl did not escape me. Mads la Cour's Almugi were completely unknown to me ... This is contemporary jazz as it is fun. You can sit back and enjoy. Enjoy how melodies and harmonies unfold here, how music is played together (!). It reminds me a little of Charles Mingus ... you feel the blind togetherness, the interlocking of the interactions. Also very well received. That's how it should be. Keep it up. Now all I have to do is listen to her live. That would be perfect.Henry Karl, radiohoerer
When Mads la Cour is together with Lars Greve, something happens in the music, which is not everyday at the Danish jazz scene. The two musicians have a very special language together. [...] It is music equipped with an on voltage. In the interplay between La Cour and Greve there are the planned areas that lift the musicians into the unpredictable where the light burns to a degree so that there is fire. [...] The title of the album "Hule" is about a place where it is safe and nice. It seems that the four musicians have found a cave where they are in peace and can be together about the music. As a listener, the cave is an exciting and evolving place to live. In other words, it is a highly recommendable album.Niels Overgård, JAZZNYT
The music here is built on a patient forbearance, a hallmark of European jazz, but also there is a purposeful reconnoitering of the edges of the avant-garde. La Cour has constructed an elegant tone with his horn and he is not opposed to pushing boundaries and technique. [...] The music is playful, buoyant, and knotty. Maybe we should say naughty. Make a note to keep an eye (ear) on Mads la Cour's blossoming career.Mark Corroto, All About Jazz
The beauty that surrounds us, to capture and bring to light, is the "mission" that the Danish trumpeter Mads La Cour and his band Almugi have set themselves for the album Hule. [...] Throughout the album, La Cour convinces with its soft and intense playing, where traces of swing, bebop and more modern forms of expression embody a postmodern symbiosis.Johan Scherwin, Lira Musikmagasin
Though Almugi is an all-acoustic quartet, it isn't a ‘60s throwback but most definitely a contemporary jazz outfit that draws from multiple traditions, free jazz, bop, and folk among them. The playing's sometimes rough-edged and fiery, but the group can also play with delicacy and nuance when necessary. An effective balance is struck between formal composition and improvisation in these oft-episodic pieces, with the members effecting transitions between notated sections and solos with agility. On Hule, Almugi repeatedly shows itself to be an exceptionaly nimble unit.Ron Schepper, Textura
These are modern compositions that leave plenty of room for improvisation both individually and collectively. The style of music fits into the tradition of European improvised music. But Mads La Cour and his companions provide structure, melody and theme. [...] The Almugi group has been together for several years and you can hear that. The four individual parts of the quartet complement each other perfectly and create surprising interplay and sound structures. [...] The album 'Hule' by Mads La Cour Almugi is a pearl for the lover of exciting contemporary music.Sjoerd van Aelst, JazzFlits Nr. 298
The music is a beautiful collection of melodic themes, mostly serene and melancholic, with a lot of space and breathing air, which allows for each note to be heard distinctly and clearly. [...] Obvious respect between the musicians and a common goal of achieving the most fulfilling effect are fully realized herein, and the album is a truly delightful listening experience. The balance between the Jazz tradition and the new forms of expression, treatment of time, rhythm and harmony are a perfect example of the strength and ingenuity of contemporary young European Jazz, which is bursting with talent and creativity. [...] This album is highly recommended to all modern European Jazz connoisseurs, who are open-minded enough to deal with some degree of Free Jazz, which is well behaved enough to please and avoid chaos, but challenging enough to keep the listener on his toes. Very well done indeed!Adam Baruch, The Soundtrack Of My Life
All musicians shine on their instruments. They play at the highest technical level and thus impress the beautiful compositions. [...] An all-round album presented to us by Mads la Cour's Almugi. Sonically, there is also nothing to complain about, so that you can only award the highest rating, which also happens here. Recommendation!Ingo Andruschkewitsch, musik an sich
Mads la Cour composes his music by taking inspiration from situations of social, political, musical and human relations. Subtle writing attaches great importance to the combined play of individualities without excessive restraint by combining timbres and instruments as part of a very successful aesthetic project.Thierry Giard, culturejazz.fr
The timbre of the instruments is a perfect match and the way La Cour and Greve merge their parts, interweave their sounds or play together in a transversal way, is delicious. [...] Mads la Cour's Almugi finds a golden mean between tradition and modernity, between flexibility and opposition and between aesthetics and ingenuity. All this is wrapped in strong compositions and that makes Hule an excellent jazz record.Gert Derkx, Opduvel
«Hule» was recorded on May 2017 in Germany and emphasizes the highly personal sound and compositional voice of La Cour, anchored in an intimate, emphatic setting and rooted in the Nordic lyrical jazz legacy. True to ancient meaning of Almugi, La Cour music attempts to capture an optimist spirit of all the good and beauty that surrounds us. La Cour compositions reflect at the same time his concern about human indifference, lack of altruism around us and his anger about the wrong people who have gained powerful positions. [...] This [...] emphasizes again the organic, intimate interplay of this excellent quartet.Eyal Hareuveni, salt peanuts*
The music is a an open form of modern Jazz, which ignores genres and conventions and freely floats between melodic passages and free improvisations, presenting the complete palette used by today´s new generation of European Jazz players, who are constantly trying to expand the Jazz idiom.Adam Baruch, adambaruch.com
Sounding at times as if it was recorded in California not Copenhagen, the Almugi Quartet is all about procedural balance, rarely if ever probing atonal highs or dissonant lows. However like a bespoke suit that piques with its discriminating detailing, the moderated and unusual pairing of cornet and clarinet produces an airy synthesis, perfectly suited to La Cour’s compositions.Ken Waxman, jazzword.com
This is engaging music, each piece with a distinct sense of development, but what really holds the attention is the group sound and interplay. Trumpet and clarinet support and twist around each other constantly without ever sounding contrived, The drums and bass maintain an unflagging energy even when playing fractured and broken rhythms. This is a very fine set from top class players and it makes me want to check our what Mads has been up to with his other ‘ Free Men of the Kingdom’Mike Collins, London Jazz News
Mads la Cour has crafted a highly personal musical world that encompasses the serene, reserved Nordic jazz but corresponds with other musical worlds such as close and far folk traditions and contemporary music. The quartet plays as a band that has been playing together for years, creating an intimate, free tonal language within concise segments of collective improvisations. The close, melodic rich interplay of la Cour and Greve is naturally the heart of all pieces, all composed by la Cour. Their searching, warm sound, full with fresh, flowing ideas create an aural tapestry. Both enjoy the economic, driving pulse of Lang and Christiansen.Eyal Hareuveni, allaboutjazz.com
The gifted quartet expand la Cour's musical vision. The quartet outline beautiful, heartfelt melodies, always in a quiet, reserved manner, as on the sublime "Allmogen," the fragile, chamber "I Jules" or the contemplative "Emilie"; move to a playful, fuky mode on "Sir Dance a Lot" or suggest a gentle dance on "Araber." "Polka" present an experimental, searching side of the quartet at its introduction before the quartet unite for reciting the strong theme.
These four exceptional musicians are gifted with a rare musical gift. Inspiring, beautiful music.