Johan Borgström Septet: Smile and Be Serious
To put it harshly, the principle of theme and variation is meaningless without variation. While Borgström's playing occasionally asserts unique character, it usually does so in harmonically static settings. Keyboard player Tommy Kotter likewise hints at a potential to expand, but for the most part he's hemmed in by the need to comp or maintain funk vamps. Formally arranged portions on Smile generally offer neither harmonic complexity nor appreciable tonal evolution. While it's clear that these musicians enjoyed their work on this record (the zany liner notes attest to a uniquely Scandinavian vim), their collective endeavor has little to offer a listener with any interest in something more than tiny steps off the beaten path.
Track Listing: Introduction; Smile and Be Serious; Tam-Tam Nouveau Suite: I; II; III; Ryssland; Don't Call Me Again, Sam; It Turned Out to Be...; Obli (Inner Thoughts); Dum-Dum; P.I.M. (Boys in the Dark); Nasa; Warpeace.
Personnel: Johan Borgström: soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones; E flat clarinet. Staffan Svensson: trumpet. Niclas Rydh: tenor and bass trombone. Jonas Franke-Blom: cello. Tommy Kotter: piano and Fender Rhodes. Stefan Wingefors: double bass. Goran Kroon: drums.
Record Label: Caprice Records