There is something unusual and interesting in this package that comes out of Stockholm. Six musicians get together, three a jazz trio, the other three an Arabic folk trio. The first has 'Orjan Hultén, Filip Augustson, and Fredrik Rundqvist, the second comprises Salem Al Fakir, Nassim Al Fakir, and Mats Karlsson. The music seamlessly weaves jazz and Arabic music.
The end result is an arresting record that gives world jazz a marvellous window of invention. And inventive it is as Hultén unleashes torrid lines on the saxophone on "Arrabbiato." But the environment of free jazz is only a setup, as the oud dances in and the percussion and the drums spin a heady rhythm. The melodic line is Arabic and Hultén improvises on the melody, pushing the edges and finding a companion in Salem Al Fakir, who darts quick lines on the violin. And then the saxophone gets harder as the groove moves into bop territory without a bump.
They come full circle on the other tunes as well. The dynamics change to take in "Rubato, a ballad that gets its soul from Hultén, who plays with a warm glow, and the fluttering accents from Fredrik Rundqvist, whose drumming is always well controlled and essays the perfect rhythm. The mood swing that characterizes "R-Kids moves from an up-tempo sway to a vaporous air in search of form. The latter beguiles as the musicians weave the strands back into the swing of things.
Another enthralling tune comes in "Ayouni (My Eyes), the melody catchy but taken into swing, with a hint of New Orleans, shifts in tempo, and a straight reading, marked by a dialogue between Nassim Al Fakir and Rundqvist, and all players blend to captivate.
Personnel: Orjan Hulten: soprano, tenor and alto saxophones; Salem Al Fakir: violin, piano, melodica;
Mats Karlsson: oud, mandolin; Nassim Al Fakir: darbouka, djembe; Filip Augustson: double
bass; Fredrik Rundqvist: drums; Jonas Lindgren: strings on R-Kids.