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

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Liberetto II

ACT 9571-2



1. Grace

2. Passacaglia

3. Miniature

4. Africa

5. I Tima

6. II Blå

7. III Violet

8. Swedish Song

9. Eilat

10. View from the Apple Tree

11. The Truth

12. Beautiful Darkness

Lars Danielsson - Bass, cello, piano (track 1), piano melody (tracks 3 and 9)

Tigran - Piano, fender rhodes

John Parricelli - Guitar

Magnus Öström - Drums, percussion, electronics

Special guests:

Mathias Eick - Trumpet (tracks 1,5,6,7,11)

Dominic Miller - Guitar (track 1)

Cæcilie Norby - Voice (track 12)

Zohar Fresco - Percussion, vocals (track 9)

Swedish bassist Danielsson's first CD with the title, `Liberetto', was released in 2012 and has been a major success, so it is not surprising that a follow-up version has now appeared. The format is much as before: melodic folk-jazz miniatures (no track lasts more than six minutes) mostly composed by Danielsson himself with Armenian pianist Tigran very much in the foreground. British guitarist Parricelli and former EST drummer Öström complete the core quartet.

Five tracks feature the trumpeter Matthias Eick, accompanied only by Danielsson on bass or cello, in a series of moody, reflective pieces. I found these less interesting than the quartet tracks where the presence of Tigran, a classically-trained pianist with a prodigious technique whose playing demands attention, and the inventive percussion work of Öström inspire Danielsson to lead the quartet in some high-class chamber jazz.

Passacaglia is the first of several engaging tunes written by Danielsson for the quartet and is followed by the lovely Miniature sensitively played by Tigran with a sonorous cello solo by Danielsson. Africa features the four musicians on a lively tune with an attractive, dancing rhythm, but then the temperature drops with the three-part duo sequence for Eick's laidback trumpet playing. Tigran contributes the energetic Swedish Song, fired by his own powerful solo and by Öström's polyrhythms. The final track, Beautiful Darkness, is another lovely tune with Tigran playing bell-like runs over an electronic underscore.

Plenty to enjoy on this CD, especially when Tigran is playing.

George Stacy

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