Oh boy, is the anti-ECM posse going to have to eat their words when they hear this one! To be sure, there is an ECM "sound" (or two, or three, actually) and it’s led some of its detractors to believe that all discs in their catalog have "that" particular air. (Some critic in the Village Voice in the 80s used that word "pastel" in an otherwise positive album review.... remember, real men don’t use pastel.) This live set helmed by Arild Andersen was recorded in 1981, released in ’82 and received its first American appearance in ’02 with four bonus tracks. This is NOT late-nite, book-reading ambient jazz - this gig SMOKED and time has not dimmed its fire. Arild Andersen (known for playing w/ Masqualero, George Russell and Sheila Jordan) with a driving, rippling, precise and STOUT tone, sounding a bit like Dave Holland after five servings of Vietnamese coffee on New Year’s Eve. Bill Frisell isn’t laid-back or "ethereal" here, no indeed - he has a biting, stinging and chunky approach that recalls pre-Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. While he’s not "rocking-out" per se, this contains some of his most blues- and rock-charged playing outside of John Zorn’s Naked City band. Alphonse Mouzon’s drumming is, like his 70s work in the bands of McCoy Tyner and Larry Coryell, crackling and kinetic, like a bowl of Rice Krispies in overdrive when the milk hits, with some slabs o’ fatback funk on top. UK pianist John Taylor (Peter Erskine, Kenny Wheeler) displays a funkier side to his personality than usual (you gotta admit, one doesn’t think "funky" after hearing his albums w/ Azimuth), combining his pointed post-bop/Third Stream style with a playful funkiness a la Bobby Timmons and Vince Guaraldi. The A.A. quartet plays a punchy yet pretty program of gospel-inflected, bop-wailing, genially propulsive fusion with grace and gusto to spare. Without a hint of looking-backward, Molde Concert in many ways encapsulates what made the concept of "Fusion" so exciting way back when, long before it got diluted by.... oh, you get the idea.... this ‘un get my "three thumbs up" rating!