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In The Spirit Of Jazz

ACT 9820-2




  1. From Gagarin's Point Of View

  2. Sleep On It

  3. Folksong

  4. Mirlo

  5. Tears In Heaven

  6. The Call

  7. The Soul

  8. Kristallen Den Fina

  9. Lycklig Resa

  10. La Maga

  11. The Kiss

  12. A Simple Song

  13. Waltz For The Lonely Ones

  14. Voyage

  15. St. James Infirmary

    Anyone who wants to raise their general awareness of the jazz scene in mainland Europe could not do better than try this sampler from ACT. There are, of course, respected veteran figures, such as the pianist Joachim Kühn, trombonist Nils Landgren and bassist Lars Danielsson, represented here. Yet it is striking how many younger talents can be heard (and appreciated) on this album. The tracks are each taken from separate current releases and provide a wealth of good listening. Aficiandos of jazz piano are particularly well served. Iiro Rantala is especially prominent, appearing on three occasions. This Finnish rising star, who already has several albums as a leader with ACT to his credit, has a superb touch, evident on From Gagarin's Point Of View, Waltz For The Lonely Ones and, in a lively rendering of a memorable Kenny Barron tune, on Voyage. There's also several samples of the work of an internationally known artiste, the Swedish pianist, Jan Lundgren. There is a beautiful version of a traditional folk tune, Kristallen den fina, where Lundgren is joined by Paolo Fresu on flugelhorn. Lundgren also plays with distinction (and with a string quartet!) on Lycklig Resa and appears with, among others, trombonist Nils Landgren on a piece entitled A Simple Song, from a Leonard Bernstein tribute album. The vastly experienced Joachim Kühn shows he continues to make great music with the reggae-type rhythm of Sleep On It.

    Reverting to a younger generation of jazz pianists, the David Helbock Trio give a vibrant performance of Helbock's own composition The Soul, a highlight of his new album. Award-winning Michael Wollny and Martinique-born Grégory Privat feature elsewhere on the disc and prompt astonishment in the listener at this new wave of extravagant talent. On other instruments, there's the remarkable tenor saxophonist Marius Neset who put me in mind of Andy Sheppard's recordings for the Provocateur label a fair number of years ago. Judging by Folk Song, another excellent piece from the pen of Lars Danielsson, Neset is someone who is not just an emergent force but one who has arrived. Or how about Jukka Perko on alto sax who plays Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven with such soulful tenderness. I loved Vincent Peirani on accordion, linking up with Michael Wollny for The Kiss and evoking Parisien boulevards in the process. Then there is Gerardo Núñez and his fluent playing on Flamenco guitar (Mirlo). And Nils Landgren, on trombone, manages to combine a velvet smoothness with outright funkiness on A Simple Song.

    As for singers, the French chanteuse Lou Tavano on the quirky The Call is quite a discovery. The accomplished ease of Viktoria Tolstoy (yes, she is related!) on Waltz For The Lonely Ones is another treat. The album concludes with Blues singer Eric Bibb and a band of part-Scandinavian, part-Scottish folk musicians giving a rousing rendition of St. James Infirmary as you've never heard it before. Having tried my best, I recognise that there are musicians I haven't explicitly mentioned that have contributed to the success of this collection. All I can say is - get the disc and discover them yourself. It will repay any effort or expense twice over.

    James Poore


    Track 1 : Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra conducted & arranged by Hans Ek, Iiro Rantala - Piano

    Track 2 : Joachim Kühn - Piano, Chris Jennings - Bass, Eric Schaefer - Drums

    Track 3 : Marius Neset - Tenor sax, Lars Danielsson - Bass, Morten Lund - Drums

    Track 4 : Gerardo Núñez - Flamenco guitar, Ulf Wakenius - Acoustic nylon string guitar, Cepillo - Percussion

    Track 5 : Jukka Perko - Alto sax, Jarmo Saari - Electric guitar, Teemu Viinikainen - Acoustic guitar

    Track 6 : Lou Tavano - Vocal, Alexey Asantcheeff - Piano, Arno de Casanove - Trumpet, Maxime Berton - Bass clarinet, Alexandre Perrot - Bass, Ariel Tessier - Drums

    Track 7 : David Helbock - Piano, Raphael Preuschl - Bass ukelele, Reinhold Schmölzer - Drums

    Track 8 : Paolo Fresu - Flugelhorn, Jan Lundgren - Piano

    Track 9 : Jan Lundgren - Piano, Mattlas Svensson - Bass, Bonfiglioli Weber String Quartet

    Track 10 : Grégory Privat - Piano, Linley Marthe - Bass, Tilo Bertholo - Drums

    Track 11 : Michael Wollny - Piano, Vincent Peirani - Accordion

    Track 12 : Nils Landgren - Trombone, Jan Lundgren - Piano, Dieter IIg - Bass, Wolfgang Haffner - Drums, Bochumer Symphoniker arr. & cond. By Vince Mendoza

    Track 13 : Viktoria Tolstoy - Vocals, Iiro Rantala - Piano, Ulf Wakenius - Guitar, Lars Danielsson - Bass, Morten Lund - Drums

    Track 14 : Iiro Rantala - Piano, Lars Danielsson - Bass, Peter Erskine - Drums

    Track 15 : Eric Bibb - Vocals, guitar, Knut Reiersrud - Guitar, Aly Bain - Fiddle, Fraser Fifield - Scottish border pipes, Ale Möller - Mandola, Tuva Syvertsen - Hardanger fiddle, Olle Linder - Percussion

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