Long gone are the days of American soil's superiority in jazz. With Scandinavia's prominence (many American and native musicians call such epicenters as Stockholm and Copenhagen home), a new crop of non-American "young lions is reason for celebration.
Filip Augustson Ich Bin Filip Augustson
To call the young Swedish bassist Filip Augustson (still in his early 30s) Scandinavia's Larry Grenadier gives you an idea of his creative reliability. Legendary Swedish sax/flautist Bernt Rosengren, as well as Americans Jimmy Heath and Jerry Bergonzi, have called upon Augustson's services. His ever-evolving, in-depth lines and sturdy, well-paced and imaginative solos and accompaniment suit whatever surrounding he's placed in. Ich Bin Filip Augustson (co-produced by Jonas Kulhammar - one of Stockholm's most respected young saxophonists) is the bassist's debut as a leader and features two horns (soprano/ tenor saxophonist Orjan Hultén and trumpeter Magnus Broo), himself and drums (Jon Fält). The leader's original composition-filled session covers a spectrum of melodies and harmonies with organic rhythmic drive. Bouncy bass lines spur on an exciting group that takes obvious inspiration from piano-less groups like Ornette Coleman's. Deceiving in title, "Trio might refer to the close camaraderie of the horns - their sax-trumpet lines are a convincing single instrument. The more raucous "Magnum Bonum finds Augustson and Fält with a similar unity. Broo's trumpet shadows Hultén's soprano through "Miniatyr, an anything but disorienting double vision for three concise minutes; the culminating "Stillhet suitably closes this recommended disc.
Augustson is also heard to advantage on tenor saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist's Full Circle, another session of originals. The one exception is Michel LeGrand's "You Must Believe in Spring, which opens with a two-minute breathy unaccompanied tenor solo. Not until the closing two minutes of the tune does the group dedicate themselves entirely to the recognizable melody. Before then, they rather blatantly but astutely hint at it. "Double Dare, the CD's climax, is a hard- hitting modern bop-based groove with intense solos by co-composers Almqvist (tenor) and Jonas Ostholm (piano). At nearly 9-minutes, this romp is the longest cut on yet another finely balanced Scandinavian session.
Live at the Glenn Miller Café
The leaderless Surd quartet's Live at the Glenn Miller Café, with Augustson this time playing a very different, less central role, was recorded exactly a year ago in Stockholm's prime jazz locale. The sheer force of David Stackenäs' electric guitar playing, Thomas Strønen's excited drumming and Fredrik Nordström's hard blowing tenor and alto saxophones dominate Augustson's pulse, making his creative work at times undetectable (particularly on Steve Lacy's "38 ). Offered instead is a freer, less structured platform for Augustson and we get an interesting alternate rendition of his "Magnum Bonum . Resorting to the slide, Stackenäs' guitar is musical without melodizing his "Hello Paul before the frontline drops out altogether. Augustson instinctively moves centerstage in an adventurous pizzicato solo, creatively borrowing from the chord progression to "It Ain't Necessarily So. Probably Nordström's "Head P best represents the session; Surd's general grooving experimentation creates spacious guitar chords under breathy mellow sax lines and brushes. Ideally exploited is Augustson's outstanding playing, making you want to put this track on repeat.
Regardless of what side of the Atlantic you're on, Augustson is one of the more dynamic and in-demand players on his instrument.
Ich Bin Filip Augustson
Tracks: 1-"Ituri" (Augustson) 10:15; 2-"Trio" (Augustson) 7:06; 3-"Magnum Bonum" (Augustson) 5:37; 4-"Miniatyr" (Augustson) 3:04; 5-"Take a Train" (Augustson) 7:24; 6-"Music & Society" (Augustson) 4:10; 7-"Ich Bin Filip Auguston" (Augustson) 1:40; 8-"Stillhet" (Augustson) 6:05
Personnel: Filip Augustson (b), Magnus Broo (tr), Jon Fält (dr), Orjan Hultén (soprano/tenor)
Tracks: 1-"Do We Dance" (7:09); 2-"Full Circle" (5:15); 3-"In Between" (6:46); 4-"Katten Burlesk" (5:46); 5-"Slow Flow" (5:59); 6-"Spantis" (4:51); 7-"Double Dare" (8:54); 8-"Indi" (4:34); 9-"You Must Believe In Spring" (6:10)
Personnel: Karl-Martin Almqvist (sx), Jonas Ostholm (p), Filip Augustson (b), Sebastian Voegler (dr)
Live at the Glenn Miller Café
Tracks: 1-"38" (8:46); 2-"3 6 4 U" (10:15); 3-"Hello Paul" (8:02); 4-"Head P" (6:20); 5-"Bye Bye Teddy" (15:59); 6-"Magnum Bonum" (8:08)
Personnel: David Stackenäs (g), Fredrik Nordström (sx), Filip Augustson (b), Thomas Strønen (dr)