Christer Fredriksen so enjoyed the experience of recording at Barxeta Studio in its undisturbed environment (with fragrance from nearby orange groves) that he moved his family from Norway to Spain and they lived in Valencia, close to the studio, for a year.
Trademark is a truly musical mixture, a conglomeration of sounds and styles that thoroughly and thoughtfully trace the evolution of the guitar from its acoustic origins to its contemporary, dazzling, digital, wizardry.
With crystal clarity we are treated to comfortingly familiar approaches and yet we are also unanticipatedly transported to novel and unexpected places. Hints of gentle Frisell and hip Scofield morph into fiery passages reminiscent of McLaughlin but the ever-present Fredriksen trademark blends his original compositions into fusions that are both cohesive and coherent.
Colleagues Audun Ramo on bass and Bjørn Stiauren on drums are perfectly placed to accomplish the rhythm section roles on an album that requires not only solidity and technical expertise but also the creative capacity to construct befitting embellishments and solos. Check out Audun on the very first 'proper' track, The Girl and the Stick. I say 'proper' because the Intro and Interlude are hilarious 'bedroom practice session/turn that noise down' scenarios that lead you into the rest/remainder of the album. Bjørn's empathic percussion on the title track also highlights the skills of internationally acclaimed (and Barxeta resident) sound engineer, Dani Castelar. The drums, indeed all the instruments, have a tremendously 'live' feel to them - you feel you are actually at a great gig!
The addition of Spanish sax maestro Perico Sambeat is a masterstroke. He has recorded more than twenty albums as a leader and has worked with musicians as wide-ranging as Brad Mehldau and Michael Brecker. Perico is also no stranger to working with guitar-based bands, having played with both Kurt Rosenwinkel and Pat Metheny. His solos (overtones of Adderley) on Nature's Way and the raunchy Let the Dead Man Sleep, are simply superb.
Trademark is a very well-named album because Christer's trademark is so very well displayed here. It is his innate ability, through his consistently fresh compositions, to amalgamate, integrate and disseminate the cream of jazz-related styles.