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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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NILS LANDGREN

Redhorn Collection

ACT 6013-2

 

 

CD 1 The Funk Unit

  1. Traci

  2. Simple Life

  3. You Dig

  4. Da Fonk

  5. Six Beauties On A Rooftop

  6. Riders On The Storm

  7. Knowing Me, Knowing You

  8. House Party

  9. Stuff Like That

  10. Kibera Sunrise

  11. Mag Runs The Voodoo Down

  12. Get Serious Get A Job

  13. Ain't Nobody

  14. Ack Värmeland, du sköna

    Nils Landgren - Trombone, vocals (tracks 4, 6-8, 11, 13)

    Randy Brecker - Trumpet (track 2)

    Roy Hargrove - Trumpet (track 4)

    Till Bröner - Trumpet (track 7)

    Fred Wesley - Trombone (track 5)

    Maceo Parker - Alto sax (track 1)

    Michael Brecker - Tenor sax (track 2)

    Per Ruskträsk Johansson - Saxophone (tracks 3-5, 13)

    Karl-Martin Almquist - Saxophone (track 7)

    Magnus Lindgren - Woodwinds (tracks 10-12)

    Jonas Wall - Woodwinds (tracks 10-12)

    Henrik Janson - Guitar (tracks 1-4, 7, 13)

    Robert Östlund - Guitar (tracks 4-6)

    Ray Parker Jr - Guitar (track 8)

    Andy Pfeiffer - Guitar (tracks 11, 12)

    Jesper Mejlvang - Keyboard (tracks 1, 2)

    Esbjörn Svennson - Keyboard (tracks 1, 2), Rhodes Fender (tracks 4, 5, 13)

    Jesper Nordenström - Keyboard (tracks 6, 7)

    Roberto Di Gioia - Keyboard (track 7)

    Ida Sand - Keyboard (tracks 8, 9), vocals (track 9)

    Sebastian Studnitzky - Keyboard (tracks 11, 12)

    Magnum Coltrane Price - Rap (track 3), vocals (tracks 4, 6, 7, 11, 13), synthesizers (tracks 3, 6, 7), bass (tracks 4-6, 8, 9, 11-13)

    Lars DK Danielsson - Bass (tracks 1-3, 7)

    Per Lindvall - Drums (tracks 1, 2)

    Åke Sindquist - Drums (tracks 1, 2)

    Bernard Purdie - Drums (track 2)

    Janne Robertson - Drums (tracks 4, 5, 13)

    Niklas Gabrielsson - Drums (track 6)

    Wolfgang Haffner - Drums (tracks 7-9, 11,12)

    Robert M. Ikiz - Drums (tracks 11, 12)

    Don Alias - Percussion (tracks 4, 5)

    CD2 The Ballads

  1. Song From The Valley

  2. Love Of My Life

  3. This Masquerade

  4. The Moon's A Harsh Mistress

  5. Silent Way

  6. Fire And Rain

  7. Fragile

  8. Imagine

  9. You Stole My Heart

  10. The Brightest Smile In Town

  11. I Will Survive

Get Here

Nils Landgren - Trombone (tracks 1-5, 7-12), vocals (tracks 2-4, 6-12)

Johan Norberg - Guitar (tracks 2, 8, 12)

Frank Kuruc - Guitar (track 5)

Ray Parker Jr - Guitar (track 10)

Robert Östlund - Guitar (track 11)

Esbjörn Svensson - Piano (tracks 1, 9), Rhodes Fender (track 11)

Michael Wollny - Piano (tracks 2,7)

Anders Widmark - Piano (track 3)

Roberto Di Gioa - Piano (track 6)

Joe Sample - Piano (track 10)

Sebastian Studnitzky - Keyboard (track 5)

Lars Danielsson - Bass (tracks 2-6), cello (track 5)

Dan Berglund - Bass (track 9)

Chris Severin - Bass (track 10)

Magnum Coltrane Price - Bass (track 11)

Rasmus Kihlberg - Drums (tracks 2, 4)

Wolfgang Haffner - Drums (tracks 3, 5)

Magnus Öström - Drums (track 9)

Raymond Weber - Drums (track 10)

Janne Robertsson - Drums (track 11)

Flesh Quartet (track 6)

Rigmor Gustafsson - Vocals (track 6)

Pilnäs, Sand, Köhn, Dyall - Choir (track 8)

NDR Big Band (track 4)

Initially, I was drawn to this collection of some of Nils Landgren's recordings for the ACT label as an admirer of this Swedish musician's fluent and stylish trombone playing. Yet all but two of the tracks here feature his singing also, sometimes on his own, sometimes with others, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good he is on that front. The collection consists of two very different CDs. The first focuses on Landgren's work as leader of the Funk Unit and contains tracks from the period 1995 through to 2013. The roots of funk, of course, lie deep in the African-American community and it has influenced not only jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis but helped enable the later emergence of disco and hip-hop. It's fitting, then, that Fred Wesley, a brass-player associated significantly with funk, can be found guesting on Six Beauties On A Rooftop (he also wrote the hypnotic House Party number to be found later on). Landgren and his musicians, some of Scandanavia's finest, have a genuine feel for funk. Without doubt, this is dance music of quality, highly infectious in nature. I especially liked the lively Da Fonk , with visitor Roy Hargrove on trumpet and a Landgren vocal evoking Stevie Wonder! On Six Beauties On A Rooftop, a tune written by the late, lamented Esbjörn Svensson, not only is Wesley's trombone prominent but there are notable contributions from Robert Östlund's guitar and Per Ruskträsk Johansson's saxophone. The latter also plays up a storm on Ain't Nobody, one of two tracks recorded live from Montreaux, where the audience clearly found The Funk Unit very much to their taste. The first disc, then, is great fun (you've never heard Knowing Me, Knowing You quite like this before). The second offers a complete contrast.

Among some beautiful melodies, playing and singing, This Masquerade, which is one from George Benson's repertoire, stands out as a strong tune, interpreted well. Fire And Rain has a bluesy piano from Roberto Di Gioa and a harmonious vocal collaboration between Rigmor Gustafsson and Nils Landgren. The splendid Joe Sample features on piano in The Brightest Smile In Town, while the disco hit I Will Survive stars Landgren embellishing the familiar theme with zestful trombone solos. Song From The Valley is a track where Landgren and Esbjörn Svensson simply produce beautiful music. It would be fair to say that The Ballads hasn't a false moment. What's more there is the bonus of the exemplary NDR Big Band (for whom Landgren played for five years) on The Moon's A Harsh Mistress.

The Redhorn Collection, incidentally, gets its name from the colour of Landgren's Yamaha trombone. The final track of The Funk Unit disc has Nils, in fact, billed as Mr. Redhorn. If the suggestion is that he is a master of his instrument, then, on the strength of this music, there will be few dissenters from that. This double CD set brings real enjoyment for the listener.

James Poore



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