Although Norwegian Frode Haltli plays accordion, he's unlikely to ever be mistaken for Lawrence Welk, or even Clifton Chenier. Haltli coaxes an astonishing array of sonic colors and textures from his instrument while playing in a context that fuses Scandinavian folk music, free improvisation, classical, and avant-garde experimentation. His collaborators—on trumpet, viola, voice—are equally unpredictable on Haltli's quietly intense, often stunning Passing Images (ECM). There's plenty of moody atmospherics, as you might expect from producer Manfred Eicher. But there's also great drama and beauty, as the quartet blurs the usual wide abyss between traditional and cutting-edge contemporary. Old hymns, for instance, turn into meditations washed with vapory dissonance while lyrical melodies ebb and flow under the sparse caresses of unexpected sounds. Here Haltli's somewhat reconstituted quartet, still featuring vocalist/composer Maja Ratkje, will include clarinetist Darryl Harper and violinist/Hardanger fiddler Nils Okland.
Sat., Nov. 10, 8 p.m., 2007