Conclusion, recorded in 1994, marked not an end but the beginning as leader of his own trio for pianist Jan Lundgren (which must be Swedish for “spectacular”). Lundgren, who turned 33 last month, has since verified his position as one of the most accomplished young pianists on the Jazz scene, in Sweden or anywhere else. Lundgren seems to have sprung fully formed from his cocoon, as Conclusion shows not the least trace of immaturity, and is in almost every respect as smooth and tasteful an excursion as one can envision. That he was 28 when it was recorded makes Lundgren’s firm command of the pianistic vocabulary that much more impressive. He shows great promise as a writer too, contributing five well–crafted originals — “Olivia,” “Conclusion,” “Flip Top Girl,” “Short Life” and “PMS.” Completing the program are fellow pianist Elmo Hope’s charming but seldom recorded “So Nice,” Sonny Rollins’ familiar “Oleo” and the standards “My Ideal,” “There Is No Greater Love,” “I See Your Face Before Me” and “Temptation,” the last of which may seem an unusual choice for a Jazz album but not when unraveled so masterfully by Lundgren, Lundgaard and Riel. Lundgren, said to be a student of the evolution of Jazz, seems to have learned his lessons well, using a variety of styles in which to frame his individual voice. While his technique is prodigious, he never allows it to get the upper hand, preferring instead to simply shape a credible musical narrative, which he does about as well as anyone (in that respect, he reminds me of another superlative story–teller, Kenny Barron — listen, for example, to “There Is No Greater Love” or “My Ideal”). Lundgren also appreciates the importance of nimble and responsive sidemen, having chosen two of the best in Lundgaard and Riel as companions on his maiden voyage, and they confirm his appraisal every step of the way. It would be hard to put together a more capable piano trio than this.
Track listing: Olivia; Conclusion; My Ideal; Flip Top Girl; Oleo; Short Life; PMS; So Nice; There Is No Greater Love; I See Your Face Before Me; Temptation (60:55).
Jan Lundgren, piano; Jesper Lundgaard, bass; Alex Riel, drums.