One of Italy’s most prominent websites about jazz got curious about my shortfilm “The Coltrane code” so Marco Losavio, chief editor of Jazzitalia.net interviewed me about it, so nice!
We have decided to offer all readers the possibility of watching it exclusively for a few days, so why not taking the chance now if you are also curious? Check the piece out here and find link and password to it!
A very solid, powerful and conscious debut by City Nights, Swedish band composed by some of the best and most requested Swedish jazz musicians from the younger generation. Andreas Hourdakis, to begin with, guitarist of Magnus Öström (Esbjörn Svensson Trio), Nils Jansson, the most interesting trumpet player of his generation, the great groover Martin Höper on bass, and Chris Montgomery on drums, with his rich and versatile punctuation.
The album touches and immediately goes beyond jazz rock, almost creating a new style, if one had to give a genre definition. Freedom from jazz and rock becomes the most distant point from both poles, making the fusion free from usual schemes. There are elements of rock, indierock, jazz and progressive, often used in an innovative and unprecedented, unexpected way. And the fantastic interplay resulting from the fusion of instruments and inspiration is really the alchemy that makes each piece interesting and easy to remember.
Huge expectations for this almost-debut gig of pianist Daniel Karlsson’s trio, probably the most legitimate heir of Esbjörn Svensson in the Scandinavian jazz scene. Actually, their musical paths did often cross as they also played for the same artists. Contrary from Svensson though, who had his own trio from the start, Karlsson has been more embedded in bands rather than going solo, starting with Oddjob, by far one of the most innovative and explosive bands among Nordic jazz. In fact, by coincidence, the very evening of this concert Oddjob won their second Swedish Grammy Award for their latest album, Jazzoo.
Expectations were duly met and actually exceeded in respect to the Das Taxibåt album (reviewed here). In the live performance not only Karlsson’s powerful pianist skills were confirmed or even surpassed but also the intense and joyful complicity between the three musicians was there, with double bassist Kristian Lind proving a truly inspired and stronger talent compared to what the CD would disclose, while Fredrik Rundqvist on drums won enthusiastic applause for a couple of highly catchy and original solos; and this is not easy when you are dealing with an already percussive, rhythmic and accented talent as that of Karlsson.
Another sold out concert for the highest caliber crossover jazz trio around: regardless of your personal taste about music, these three gentlemen really know how to play with elegant perfection and reach a “complex simplicity” that is by no means easy to achieve. And still, you will not stumble into anything resembling a virtuous complacency in the dynamics of the trio, it all rather seems a wonderful game of fraternal complicity between three giants who play with the same naive enthusiasm of three young kids strumming cover songs in the house’s cellar after school. Having never attended a JK3 gig with the previous drummer Jonas Holgersson, there is luckily no way to make comparisons, but the young Ikiz (Turkish but naturalized Swedish) is a phenomenon, a pure instigator, with a couple of gears above the average: his ability to transform and his groove.Actually, to be truthful, it is only the birth certificates the lie about the other two on stage.
Concert at the Salon IKSV, Istanbul, Turkey, January 18, 2014
A completely sold out concert in a city where jazz really beats like few other places in Europe and the world. A musical scene to pay close attention to, and one that pays close attention to what is going on. Turkey is hungry for innovative and quality music. And the age of the listeners is often incredibly young compared to other countries, I have never seen so many boys and girls at a jazz concert, ever. Magnus Öström is really at home here, everything that is related to the Esbjörn Svensson Trio enjoys the status of a loving and warm cult. “Loving" is not an adjective chosen at random, it is different from “adoring”. In fact, the gap between audience and stage is tiny and the liquid boiling energy which abundantly fell on the audience was repaid with delirious shouting, applauding and sighing that no one cared to hold back. I have never experienced anything quite like that at a jazz concert before.
Probably, the only possible juxtaposition between the two Norwegian saxophonists Jan Garbarek and Marius Neset is the crimson color cover of their passport. This is said with full equal respect and appreciation for both of them. Garbarek’s icy notes are so distant from the earthy and almost Latin fire of this young dynamic composer and extraordinary saxophonist (tenor and soprano), who is delivering his third album, “Birds”, at the age of 28!
An enveloping work, with frequent changes of rhythm and inspiration, a composition at times incoherent and furious, that gives the impression of Neset being almost unable to tame his own awesome genius. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to get bored or distracted: this album calls for concentration, because of the variety of instruments he has added to his main Scandinavian-British band, Anton Eger (NO) on drums –and co-author of two tracks– Ivo Neame (UK) on piano, Jasper Høiby (DK) on double bass (all three in Phronesis, Høiby’s band: more to come on them soon), and finally Jim Hart (UK) on vibes.
Whatever he writes in the future and for however long his career will be, this album’s title track will always be his “Birdland”. “Birds” contains musical stimuli from every direction, a continuous change of tempo, inspiration, pitch, hue; and yet it is deeply coherent, like a symphony. Neset uses every instrument with creativity and generosity, and he makes his piece progress in an unpredictable way, creating a musical zoo.
Authoritative, inspired, virtuous, with an attitude. An album finally signed with his name after a long and bright career in the Scandinavian jazz that matters: with Oddjob, one of the most innovative Scandinavian bands of the last decade, and with Magnus Öström (Esbjörn Svensson Trio) for the spectacular album “Searching for Jupiter” [described here]. Karlsson’s career began very early and before the age of 30 he has already won the Swedish Grammy for Oddjob’s debut album; two years later he was awarded with the Swedish “Nobel” for jazz music, winning the “Swedish Jazz Musician of the Year Award”, with which he financed his first solo work, released under the name of Pan-Pan. There hasn’t been an interruption to his career before or after, in fact he has been involved in dozens of other projects with Scandinavian and international stars like Nils Landgren, Ernie Watts, Peter Erskine and Till Brönner.
The only Italian date for the Norwegian composer and singer Ane Brun with the Swedish quartet Tonbruket at the Rome Auditorium on November 24th, 2013 was sold out. It was their twenty-second date of a long European tour that took them to all the major cities in Europe, with still two more home concerts to go: Stockholm and Oslo.
Loved by Peter Gabriel, who wanted her in the studio and live – as well as by Ani Di Franco – Ane Brun is an absolute star in Scandinavia. In ten years she has composed and published six studio and two live albums, and she has played dozens of concerts anywhere. For her 2013 tour she chose to be supported by one of the most important jazz groups on the Scandinavian scene (i.e. European): Tonbruket, a quartet created by Dan Berglund, double bassist of the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.).
After the tragic accidental death of the leader in 2008, the remaining two musicians (Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Öström) began solo projects, each in the direction closest to their most profound musical inspiration. Berglund, the metal-rock part of the trio, has veered with his new band Tonbruket towards a more progressive and 70's rock. The meaning of the name in fact, "The note's workshop" has in itself a material sense, like a forging, hammered sound, that still remains "jazz" – however uncommon it may be. The same rule that applied to e.s.t., in fact.
The problem – actually the alluring aspect of this band that opened the evening with a magnificent half-an-hour concert – is that it makes you short of definitions, at least linear ones. What is certain is that the musicians are immense, vast in their playing, and so versatile in the production of sounds. In fact, only the number of instruments played by both members of the band's melodic section is impressive, with Johan Lindström – composer of many of the tracks – playing lap and pedal steel, with a slide effect, electric and acoustic guitars, And finally Martin Hederos whilst predominately playing double keyboards switches from piano to organ, in all its variations; occasionally, he also inserts a plucked and bowed violin, and even the accordion. The rhythm section was apparently simpler, with vibrant Andreas Werliin on drums, and the endless Dan Berglund on double bass, an instrument from which he is able to produce any kind of sound nuance, from a heavy metal electric guitar sound (obtained through his bow), to softer and deeper sounds; from bop to pop.
I have newly started to cooperate with a magnificent Italian jazz website, Jazzitalia.net, for which I wiil write mainly about my favorite music: Scandinavian jazz. One of the special things about them is that I will be able to public my pieces in both Italian and English. The first could be nothing but my review on what I consider to be one of the best jazz album of all times. So here you go, in English.
In a not so distant past there was the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.), a band that shot to the top and blurred the lines between jazz and rock/pop, charting a new path where the raucous and dirty elegance of the first blends seamlessly in the raw power and playfulness of the other two. A creative vision that has collected a heterogeneous sampling of fans, from purists bop lovers to post-rock followers.