The Jazz Doctors: Swede (2002)
Happy–time music from the trad Jazz book (with some modern touches), enthusiastically performed by a septet of Swedes who seem to know precisely what the doctor ordered. One of the nicest aspects of the album is that the songs the Jazz Doctors play aren’t the same ones we’re so used to hearing from such groups, the “Basin Street Blues,” “Muskrat Rambles,” “Twelfth Street Rags” and so on, but original compositions by the Swedes themselves — half a dozen by saxophonist Benny Rigman, five by trumpeter Staffan Kjellmor and one by bassist Göran Petersson. Even so, most are highly syncopated, anchored in the tradition, and thoroughly delightful, even more so for being fresh and new to one’s ears. The instrumentation is much the same as in most Dixieland bands with Helger Gross keeping the rhythm going on banjo (six tracks) or guitar (five). Tubaist Bo Juhlin is added on the last two tracks, conguero Lars Johnson on Kjellmor’s well–cooked “Steamboat Steak.” Track four, “A Special Way of Feeling,” is a duet between Kjellmor (who also wrote it) and pianist Bernt Helsing. Rigman is an excellent writer, crafting a number of soulful melodies and even throwing in a lighthearted waltz, “Three Quarter Doctor,” and a slightly more “modern” piece, “Before Sunrise,” that shows the Doctors’ versatility. Kjellmor’s “Steamboat Steak” is built along those same lines (the Lighthouse All–Stars meet the New Orleans Rhythm Kings?) with typically solid solos by Rigman, Helsing, trombonist Gunnar Larsson and the author. On “A Gentle Song,” Kjellmor is joined on the front line by Larsson and accompanied only by guitarist Gross and bassist Pettersson, while Pettersson’s “Ol’ Times” is another composition that embodies only the merest traces of the Dixie heritage. Despite its brief forty–two minute playing time, a positive cure for anyone’s blues courtesy of the resourceful Jazz Doctors.
Track Listing: Swede
Personnel: Staffan Kjellmor, trumpet, flugelhorn; Gunnar Larsson, trombone (except 4); Benny Rigman, tenor, soprano saxophone, piano; Bernt Helsing (1
Record Label: Favorit
Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing