Acoustic Sense & Glas – Reaching Out
“REACHING OUT is an original and fascinating work that almost constantly keeps the intensity with great physical impact. Feminine music with muscles you could call it in a contrasting phrase. But when you dive deeper into the music the contrast dissolves. John Sund and his colleagues has created a work that in its entirety, depending on ones perception, could be viewed as both terrestrial and celestial music”
– Jakob Hassing – Jazz Special, 2015. Marked with a star for “Pay special attention to this album”.
Acoustic Sense & Glas – Reaching Out
“John Sund acoustic guitar is featured flawlessly. The meeting between the chorus and the guitar in the song Second Impression is nothing less than magic. It swings and bubbles of life and tension.”
“This is not just a meeting between a choir and a group. It is a musical union in which it is not clear where it begins or ends.”
– Niels Overgaard – Jazznyt, 2015
SUND • SHASHANK • PHALGUN – Here & Now
…John Sund is a guitarist with a special gift. It is admirable and brave of him to provide a different angle on the otherwise familiar style of Indian music, we know so well, performed on sitar and tabla.
– Niels Overgaard – Jazznyt, 2012
John Sund – The Open Road
Danish guitarist John Sund have with his new CD release THE OPEN ROAD created one of this years best World-Music releases. Surrounded by musicians from Africa, India, the Balkan Islands and Scandinavia he is in his right element in a wide-ranging musical adventure, where the focus is maintained on the music as a whole opposed being a showcase for his guitar-skills.
The CD is in four sections: one African, one Nordic, one East European and one Indian. And all the involved musicians is doing their utmost to make the highly structured compositions sound seductive – always with a sense of the unexpected. And even though the music is performed by virtuosos (not least the leader himself) and tremendously well produced, one always sense that the essence of the music is the most important. The music can become very powerful at times, but it is always done with such ease that you can just lay yourself back and enjoy the brilliant interplay.
It is difficult to highlight any of the musicians in particular, but [the norwegian] singer (and saxophonist) Sissel Vera Pettersen gives an extraordinary contribution. This project deserves to be presented at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2012, just as it would be an obvious choice representing Denmark at the Womex Festival 2012.
That you on top of everything gets a very tasteful, informative and well-illustrated cover, just heightens the allover pleasure.
– Niels Christensen – Jazz Special, 2011
Live concert at the Culture House Islands Brygge, 2011
“…and recently their follow-up ‘Absorption’ arrived [the bands second CD release] and it was the material from this release which laid the foundation for the concert, including the complex and in certain spots – oriental flavored ‘Agama Suite’ in two parts, where both cello and guitar gave a sparkling performance dissolving sense of time and place.”
The four musicians demonstrates an exemplary communication amongst each other and the synchronous interplay between the two Johns were tight and sound.
They are also blessed with a rock solid and – at the same time – imaginative rhythm-section: [bassist] Morten Lundsby possesses both body and lots of melody in his playing and [percussionist] Ayi Solomon is capable of the rare ability to both accompany and tell his own stories without diverting the focus. And that emphasizes an expression of profoundness.
But in the foreground we have the beautiful and sweeping melodic phrasings and the solid, razor-sharp rhythm, which makes Acoustic Sense an exceptionally, enjoyable and unusual musical experience.
When at its best – it was like magic.
– Henrik Palle – Politiken, 2011
Underværket Randers – Amtsavisen, 25 august 2010
..From the very first musical note, one was aware of something extraordinary. Indescribable sound-pictures succeeded by african rhythms, Nordic inspired ‘light melodies’ and something that sounded as jazz standards… And the four virtuoso musicians – three danes and a ghanian – made the whole event turn out to be, not just an extremely beautiful – but also a most meaningful experience.
– Jan Sisseck
Acoustic Sense – Absorption
“A new contribution to the by now all-embracing category ”World-Music”. The guitarist John Sund is often associated with the word virtuoso and his acoustic steel-string guitar playing on this record is no exception. But it is actually his compositions combined with the particular chosen line-up: double-bass, cello and drums/percussion, combined with the artists deep involvement in regard to the spirituality of the music, that makes a difference for me as a listener. Not only are they all true craftsmen but moreover they posses an idiom and a group-sound that is so integrated with the music, which comes oozing out of your speakers like pure water from an eternal source…
– Peter Rahbek – Jazz Special, 2010
Acoustic Sense – Absorption
Classy, interesting and even beautiful release by Danish guitarist and composer Sund. Jazz/world music is a great idea and genre filled with some really lame groups doing pretty much new age prettiness with little real content. Acoustic Sense are one of the best of the genre that I can think of. …highly recommended.
– Steve Fergenbaum – Wayside Music/Cuneiform Records, USA
WORLD ON A STRING – Concert at Kulturhus Gimle, February 2010
Enjoyment for persons suffering from “winter-fatigue”
“The quartet World On A String conjured up all sorts of musical soundscapes at Kulturhus Gimle this Friday. One guitar, one violin, one double bass and two Indian tabla drums.”
It was an exquisite pleasure to attend the concert at Kulturhus Gimle Friday with the Danish world music group World On A String.
The four musicians in World On A String … … works with their material, like in the jazz style known as bebop. The musicians are equilibrists, and when the theme of the songs is played through there is plenty of room left to unfold their subtle improvisations, either as soloists or in joint efforts.
The band is an excellent ensemble, and the musicians read each other almost telepathically when executing the challenging rhythm- tempo- and style shifts.
– Stefan Andreasen – Føllenslev Folkeblad
WORLD ON A STRING – Second Outlet
World On A String’s repertoire is an embroidery of many musical genres. Balkan, Irish folklore, sounds and rhythms from the east mixed with among other jazz and Nordic folklore. In 2005 they were nominated with an award for “Best Cross-over CD” and rarely has the term “cross-over” been more relevant.
The quartet consists of Bjarke Falgren on violin, John Sund on guitar, Ole Theill on tabla and Morten Lundsby on bass, and these experienced gentlemen creates the musical fundament with their own compositions that breathes like living organic entities – in a way one wouldn’t think possible.
By Niels Overgaard – Jazz Nyt, September 2009
WORLD ON A STRING – Second Outlet
“Technical and musical acoustic folk-jazz-world music based on improvisations without boundaries”
One has introduced the widely broad concept “World-Music” in order to cover the large and exotic world of ethnic music outside our own narrow cultural circle – in other words all music that doesn’t have its origin in either North and Central Europe or North America. One could call it regional music from the whole world. On the other hand we have the kind of music, which doesn’t belong to neither. The latter isn’t rooted in a concrete culture, but picks up its inspiration from hither and thither. In this case the performers are not bound by norms and conventions, and can therefore freely unfold their musical desires as they please. This is the realm that the Danish quartet – World On A String – belongs to.
The musicians; John Sund on acoustic guitar, Bjarke Falgren on violin, Morten Lundsby on bass and Ole Theill on tabla did already have their debut-CD out in 2004, but this reviewer shall honestly admit that he wasn’t aware of that at the time. That mistake has since been corrected, and now their follow-up “Second Outlet” is securely placed in my CD-drive.
So what do we have here? Well, this is fore and most extensive improvisation without boundaries. Secondly we are provided with impressive technical skills combined with great musicality. The first is unfortunately not always combined with the latter, but here we have no unsteadiness or other bad habits. This type of music requires great sensitivity and empathy of its performers in order to reach such a high level of ensemble playing; the actual state where 2 plus 2 becomes more than 4 and one must say that World On A String achieves this to the highest degree. Although there is plenty of space for all four musicians to be featured as soloists, the organic context and interplay is maintained throughout.
In one spot you seem to be able to recognize the opening harmonies of the soul classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, but otherwise it seems difficult to determine the ethnic sources of inspiration for this highly listenable music. Jazz lovers will probably feel at home with many of the musical passages, but what one chooses to do makes no difference whatsoever. Here one can pick up musical impressions and experiences out of the ordinary and it is marvellous. Pay attention to these four guys, ladies and gentlemen!
By Nils Thorlund – Roots Zone, September 2009
Special Venture – Twice
Several tracks on this exceptional outing were recorded for Danish Radio (1999) in front of the group’s friends and acquaintances, while others were recorded a year later at a studio. Per the liner notes, this CD was delayed due to personnel changes and, to some extent, the actual dissolution of the band itself. Thankfully the release of this CD finally saw the light of day in 2007 and is an effort that should warm the hearts of many jazz-fusion and progressive-rock aficionados.
With subtle nods to legendary Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal, largely due to guitarist John Sund’s stinging and airy single note phrasings, the band does offer a divergent group-based sound that offers a spark of singularity. Partly due to vibist/keyboardist/percussionist Jon Meinild’s colorific textures and sleek soloing maneuvers amid other factors, the music, while forceful in scope, is somewhat kaleidoscopic as well. Enamored by bustling rhythms and haunting melody lines, the soloists are afforded ample amounts of breathing room. Sund’s often scathing yet poignant phrasings might signal in guitar-hero status. And in spots, he uses volume control techniques for the textural element.
On “Africando,” the ensemble injects a Latin flavor via Ayi Solomon’s pumping percussion metrics, while the band’s multihued methodology takes a few twists and turns on works that boast rolling ostinato passages. However, the musicians’ synergistic interplay cannot be undermined. They engage in complex time signatures while softening matters with ethereal backwashes and jazzy movements.
Hopefully, this unit will move forward and enjoy a fruitful existence that should provide a shot of newly formulated adrenaline for this sometimes staid genre. In addition, this CD sounds amazingly fresh given the lapse between initial recording and release. (Zealously recommended…. )
By Glenn Astarita – Jazzreview.com 2008, USA.
Special Venture – Twice
The Danish magazine GAFFA, September 2007. Assigned with 4 stars.
“Fusion music expressed with an impressive high level of virtuosity.”
“…Always with that special touch and awe-inspiring runs over the fingerboard. That man can really play guitar like few…”
“…generally the compositions contains such a rich variety of passages and breaks, that one is constantly taken by surprise. This is simply spirited fusion-music.”
By Torben Holleufer
“TOP OF WORLD” – World On A String reviewed in Djembe, January 2005
The line up with three string-instruments and tabla-drum sets the scene for a smooth and attractive sound – and this is exactly what you get. But on top of that, you also get 70 minutes of inventive and elegant musicianship for the same buck.
World On A String consists of four musicians – who with their classical European jazz-roots – explore the possibilities found in the music from such different countries as Balkan, India and Ireland. The group-members are John Sund on guitars, Bjarke Falgren on midi-violin and viola, Morten Lundsby on double bas and Ole Theill on the Indian tabla-drums.
This is a group of musicians who really masters their instruments, and Lundsby and Theill are supporting with such a tight and innate accompaniment, that one – mistakenly – almost take them for granted. And as the focal point of the group we have the two leaders, John Sund and Bjarke Falgren, who delivers that, which most noticeable characterizes ‘Woas’: A continuous reflective playing, searching and fearless improvisation, now and then slow and meditative, but most of the time with a strong rhythmic drive, which always keeps the excitement – and interest – captured.
By Jack Donen