Lars Danielsson: Love is the Message
LD: I would say his music reflects his life and upbringing in Armenia and his love of jazz, of course. I don't know exactly how far he is influenced by European classical music, but I would say a lot. When I first heard him, I heard straight away how his musical language fits what I do and how I think.
AAJ: This is a new quartet for you, but you've played with some of the musicians before. Can you tell us a little about how you know them?
LD: It's always very exciting for me to create a new group of musicians and see where we can take my music. I've known Arve Henriksen for a number of years. We both collaborated with Jan Bang, who works with sampling. Arve also lives in Mölnlycke. He's Norwegian, but lives here in Sweden. We bumped into each other one day near the lake. I didn't even know he had moved here, so when I found out I invited him to come along and play on Liberetto.
John Parricelli worked on my last album, Tarantella (ACT, 2009). We first met during a recording [Silence, Night and Dreams (EMI Classics, 2007)] with Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner. John has a really nice sound and always puts a lot of himself into every recording.
AAJ: Then there's Magnus Ostrom, previously one- third of Swedish jazz trio Esbjorn Svensson. His first leader recording, Thread of Life (ACT, 2011), is also nominated for a Swedish Grammy.
LD: I contacted Magnus a couple of months after the death of Esbjorn Svensson [pianist and leader of e.s.t.], who passed away in 2008. Magnus wasn't playing at all during this period, so I invited him to play with my group for a concert in Poland. Since then, we've played together, and it felt really natural to ask him to play on Liberetto. I'm glad he did. He's a wonderful musician.
AAJ: Interaction with other musicians is an important part of your music. You have collaborated with a huge number of international musicians, and the lineup of your group changes almost with each new album.
LD: I really value creating dialogue between myself and others. Communication is everything, so it's really important for me to play with other musicians and react to what they are playing.
AAJ: It must be exciting to discover a musician like Tigran, with whom you connect and dialogue with so well.
LD: I met Tigran for the first time just a couple weeks before we started recording. My manager in Switzerland, René Hess, passed along some of his recordings and told me to check them out. I contacted Tigran, and it turned out he knew my earlier recordings and was as keen as I was to meet up and see what would happen.
AAJ: Things happened pretty fast. Liberetto was recorded in five days over the summer, mixed in September and scheduled for release the following January. From meeting Tigran to the release date, there was a period of just 6-7 months. Do you enjoy working so quickly?
LD: I love it. This was the first time I had done the entire recording at home, so that was a new thing for me, and I am extremely happy with the results. It felt intimate and relaxed at the same time. Since then, other groups have come and used the studio, so it's something I will continue to do. Having five full days in the studio is a rare thing nowadays, so that was a good opportunity.
AAJ: Do the 12 tracks on the album make up a type of suite, or do you see Liberetto more as a collection of individual songs?
LD: I see Liberetto as a collection of individual songs. Each one is unique and sounds different to the rest. While there is not so much of a connection between the songs on the album, I would say that the order of the songs is really important. I spend a lot of time getting the order just right.