Magnus Broo Quartet: Painbody (2008)
This is only the fourth release in the last decade by Swedish trumpet player Magnus Broo, all featuring his quartet. With a distinctive voice and phrasing it's not surprising, considering his busy schedule as a prominent player in the Stockholm new jazz scene, his central role in the Scandinavian super-group Atomic, frequent collaborations with Ken Vandermark related outfits such as 4 Corners and work with Peter Brötzmann's Tentet. On the other hand, Broo has managed to keep his quartet intact all these yearsTorbjorn Gulz (piano), Mattias Welin (bass) and Jonas Holgersson (drums). All excellent musicians, their common rapport and experience as a working group shines throughout this release.
As is typical of Broo's quartet releases, the composition credits are shared between Broo and Gulz and are highly rhythmic, with extrovert playing by all. Broo's opening "Africa" revolves around a spare rhythm, gently referencing an African string instrument, based on Gulz's hammering of the piano strings. It evolves into a free-bop suite with Broo and Gulz almost telepathically reading each other's musical ideas. Broo's "Painbody" and "Das Boot" are faster, featuring tight and muscular rhythmic interplay and Broo's soaring trumpet. His solos are gifted with clarity and wide emotional articulation and a distinct, melodic and swinging tone, developed with memorable phrases and themes reminiscent of the late Don Cherry and Lester Bowie.
Gulz's short "Vera Li," a gentle duet with Holgersson, serves as a short break before returning to the quartet's usual extroverted style. Broo's "Second Wind" begins with a contemplative spirit where he opts for a sensitive breathy tone, as if preaching a gospel lament; his playing gains its sweeping momentum and is backed beautifully by everyone. "Koba" and "Smolk" feature free-bop structures, complete with recognizable swinging beats that leave enough room for Broo to outline impressive and well-articulated solos. The concluding composition, "Don Don," a clear tribute to Cherry's almost anthemic playing, is a funkier piece, featuring Wellin on electric bass, trading short and fast solos with Broo.
Here's hoping it won't be too long until the next release from this excellent quartet.
Track Listing: Africa; Painbody; Das Boot; Vera Li; Second Wind; Clockwise; Koba; Smolk; Don Don.
Personnel: Magnus Broo: trumpet; Torbjorn Gulz: piano; Mattias Welin: bass; Jonas Holgersson: drums.