Fire! Orchestra follow their acclaimed 2014 album Enter (RCD 2158CD/RLP 3158LP) with Ritual, slimming the ensemble down from 28 of northern Europe's finest jazz and improvisational musicians to a mere 21. Since the release of Enter, this energetic and dynamic mass ensemble has gone from intimate jazz settings to the main hall at the Molde International Jazz Festival and a major stage at the prestigious Roskilde Festival. As brilliant as Enter is, with Ritual they have outdone themselves and produced a beast of beauty and power, extremely well executed, beautifully recorded, and produced from only two days in the studio. Free improvisations, spontaneous horns, keyboard frenzy, abstract electronics, and guitar mayhem, not to mention those glorious twin voices from heaven and hell. It's about mysteries and rituals in music and in life. Fire! originated as the trio of Swedish improv masters Mats Gustafsson (sax), Johan Berthling (bass), and Andreas Werliin (drums). None of them are what one would call jazz purists; they all play in many different groups and contexts, including The Thing (Gustafsson), experimental folk-electronica outfit Tape (Berthling), and skewed blues-pop unit Wildbirds & Peacedrums (Werliin). Those important singers, Sofia Jernberg and Mariam Wallentin, have been on board since the beginning, and the same goes for horn players Niklas Barnö, Jonas Kullhammar, Mats Äleklint, Per Åke Holmlander, and Anna Högberg. Basically a Swedish ensemble, the orchestra also counts Norwegian, Danish, and French players among its ranks. Members of Fire! Orchestra share a wide background, combining jazz, improvised music, contemporary music, rock, garage, psych, and more. As they proclaim on their website, "please make up your own genre and mind -- listen freely -- don't buy our labeling attempts...labeling sucks."