Eje Thelin: Eje Thelin 1966 with Barney Wilen (2003)
Shortly after Wilen arrived in Stockholm, he and Thelin recorded a studio date for Swedish Radio on which a core group of Thelin, Wilen, Carlsson, bassist Erik Lundborg and pianist Lars Sjösten was fleshed out by five trumpets, three trombones, bass clarinet and flute (tracks 1-4). While in hindsight the music seems largely straightforward and ingenuous, it was perhaps cutting-edge for its time, especially in Europe. Thelin shows he's on a par with Sweden's other world-class trombonist, Åke Persson, while his compatriot is already leaning toward such soon-to-be pacesetters as Americans Sam Rivers and Von Freeman, Dutchman Willem Breuker, Norwegian Jan Garbarek and Brit Tony Coe, among others.
The quartet (tracks 5-9), recorded in concert, opens with its version of Thelin's "Doj-Doj," which is also performed by the larger group on track 3. Thelin is able to stretch more with the quartet, as is Wilen, and they deliver a series of analytical improvisations that remain surprisingly fresh so many years onward. The litmus test is Johnny Burke / Jimmy Van Heusen's "It Could Happen to You," as that's the only standard on the program, and Thelin / Wilen are equal to the task, blowing freely around the changes without once losing their balance. Danielsson and Carlsson provide able support, as they do on every number. Besides those already named, they include Thelin's "To a Moment of Truth" and "Fast," plus Sjösten's lively arrangement of the traditional Swedish theme "Ack Varmeland du Sköna."
An interesting historical – and musical – glance at a couple of top-of-the-line jazz musicians who left us far too soon (Thelin died in 1990, Wilen in 1996).
Contact: Dragon Records, P.O. Box 4068, SE-102 62 Stockholm, Sweden; www.dragonrecords.se
Track Listing: Pam Kan; To a Moment of Truth; Doj-Doj; Forever; Doj-Doj; To a Moment of Truth; It Could Happen to You; Ack V
Personnel: Eje Thelin, trombone; Barney Wilen, tenor, soprano saxophone; Lars Sj
Record Label: Dragon Records