Here’s another album to file under “p” for “pleasant surprises” — even though one shouldn’t really be surprised by the quality of any group whose rhythm section includes bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Ed Thigpen. More eye–opening are the singular talents of guitarist / leader Andreas Pettersson and his good friend, pianist Daniel Karlsson, who add the melodic flexibility to Vinding / Thigpen’s rhythmic backbone. Without making any comparisons, let’s say that each of them is a masterful post–bopper with an ample storehouse of persuasive ideas. They’re comfortable at any tempo from ballad to blazer, as, of course, are Vinding and Thigpen whose virtuosity is well–known in Jazz circles. Thigpen is especially imposing with brushes, as he affirms on the fast–paced opener, Pettersson’s “Snare–Case Chase,” and elsewhere. “Chase” is one of three Pettersson originals that open the session. The other tunes, except for the late pianist Gunnar Svensson’s “Theme for Karl–Bertil” (a standard in Sweden, according to Pettersson), are somewhat more familiar, including as they do the warhorses “I Can’t Get Started” and “I’m Old Fashioned,” Horace Silver’s “Ecaroh,” Carl Perkins’ “Grooveyard” and Cedar Walton’s “Bolivia.” While everything is well–played, the album’s clear–cut highlights, to these ears, are Pettersson’s “Chase” and “Show Me the Money” (on which Vinding hones his chops), the buoyant “Ecaroh” and “Bolivia” (wonderful solos by the front–line duo, great support from Vinding and Thigpen) and Kern’s “Old Fashioned” (featuring another clinic on brushes by Thigpen). Albeit a tad brief at 49:23, a splendid album of first–class Jazz from Sweden.
Contact: Sittel Records, P.O. Box 2070, SE–750 02 Uppsala, Sweden. Phone +46 18 55 50 80; fax +46 18 50 55 81; web site, www.sittel.se
Personnel: Andreas Pettersson, guitar; Daniel Karlsson, piano; Mads Vinding, bass; Ed Thigpen, drums.