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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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  1. Palo Alto
  2. Shirley Steps Out
  3. Last Night When We Were Young
  4. Bijou
  5. Up An' Atom
  6. Lost in a Summer Night
  7. The Bad and the Beautiful
  8. Undercurrent Blues
  9. The Man That Got Away
  10. Fantasy
  11. As You Are
  12. The St. Vitus' Dance
  13. Changing My Tune
  14. Lotus Blossom
  15. Boplicity
Jan Lundgren (piano): Jacob Fischer (guitar); Vivian Buczek (vocal): Hans Backenroth (bass); Johan Löfcrantz Ramsay (drums) with guests Peter Asplund (trumpet); Klas Lindquist (alto saxophone, clarinet): Janne Bengtsson (flute)
Recorded in January 2012, Atlantis Studio, Stockholm [70:30]


The Artistry Jazz Group - Lundgren, Fischer, Buczek, Backenroth and Ramsay - is joined by invited guests for this fifteen track feast of well chosen titles. The result is a disc dedicated to `incomers' and immigrants and their influence on generating some of the rich repertoire open to improvisers. Given the composer credits I wouldn't push this theme too hard, in fact I'd not be inclined to push it at all, and am rather more inclined to enjoy the performances on their own terms unencumbered by any kind of (however loose) agenda.

Palo Alto is heard in the Giuffre arrangement though Klas Lindquist (one of the `friends') doesn't mimic either him or the intended recipient of the attention, Lee Konitz. It's a tight, taut performance. Fischer rolls out some bluesy guitar licks on Shirley Steps Out and with crisp clarinet/guitar unison lines and a `back to basics' old time ride-out there's plenty to admire here, and plenty to engage the ear. Vivian Buczek takes the vocal duties, shining on Last Night When We Were Young where the romantic ethos is at its apogee and the flute (Janne Bengtsson) adds its own ripe allure.

There's a dapper arrangement of Bijou, the Ralph Burns tune, with Peter Asplund playing muted trumpet and Jan Lundgren (whom I've praised heavily in review before) laying down some richly voiced chords. They generate a lovely ensemble sound and provide a life-enhancing four minutes. That's the pleasure in this disc - not just timbral variety, but an acute ear for colour and good tunes, and the fusing of the two. There are good solos all round in the finger-snapping Ed Finkel tune Up An' Atom and there's a languorous arrangement of Previn's lovely Lost in a Summer Night where the piano turns elegantly romantic.

Lundgren is the linchpin of the group, proving a deft stylist and supportive collaborator throughout. Has he ever made a less than outstanding record? His poignant and gorgeously voiced pianism illuminates The Bad and the Beautiful. Hints of Ravel imbue Kenton's Fantasy (not a bad thing) and the band don't turn out a carbon copy (what would be the point?) of Horace Silver's The St. Vitus' Dance.

A winner.

Jonathan Woolf

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