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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson Trio: Koan

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A koan is a Zen Buddhist riddle that cannot be solved by the intellect alone. The best known, portrayed on the cover of Lars Jansson Trio's Koan, is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?" The koan has been described as a form of spiritual dynamite that can propel the mind into satori, or “spiritual equilibrium." Swedish pianist Jansson sees his music as “a kind of koan." He says, “You can of course analyze music in terms of form, tonality, rhythm and chords, but the experience of it and how music affects people is beyond our ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson Trio: Koan

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The second Lars Jansson Trio recording of 2012, after the outing with Ensemble MidtVest on Worship Of Self (Prophone, 2012), is a deep and reflective one. Koan not only remembers the victims of the 2011 tsunami, but also pays homage to the people of Japan and their unique culture.Lars Jansson Trio is something of a permanent fixture on the contemporary Swedish jazz scene. Past members have included bassist Anders Jormin (later replaced by Lars Danielsson and Christian Spering), and drummer Anders Kjellberg. Pianist, composer and bandleader Lars Jansson also played on bassist Arild Andersen's late 1970s quartet recordings ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson Trio with Ensemble MidtVest: Worship Of Self

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Pianist Lars Jansson's music is beyond category. Its roots are in jazz but, especially on Worship Of Self, it also embraces the Western classical tradition, bringing to mind the genius of Leonard Bernstein. Jansson hails from Sweden's second city, Gothenburg, but frequently visits Japan with his trio and is a self-proclaimed Zen Buddhist, and his meditative compositions reflect this. In his sleeve notes, Jansson says they are “built on melodic, tonal and atonal language," and quotes American modernist composer Charles Ives: “Why tonality, as such, should be thrown out for good, I can't see, why it should ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson Trio: In Search of Lost Time

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Pianist Lars Jansson recently cleared out the music room of his home in Gothenburg, on Sweden's west coast, and in the process, found some old songs he'd written but forgotten. Inspired by Marcel Proust's epic novel, A la recherche du temps perdu, he put them together with some new ones to create an album that sheds new and often surprising light on the familiar territory of piano jazz. Jansson is a Zen Buddhist, which accounts for most of the titles of his 14 originals. Unlike Proust, they are unpretentious and accessible but, at the same time, thoughtful, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson/Bohusl: Temenos

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Lars Jansson is what one would call the complete package: a marvelous composer, resourceful arranger and masterful pianist, comfortable in any framework from trio to large ensemble, as he is on this scintillating new release by Sweden's world-class Bohuslän Big Band.

This is Jansson's third recording with the triple-B, and as on the others ( The Blue Pearl; One Poem, One Painting ) he has written and arranged every number, none of which is less than persuasive. As I noted in reviewing One Poem, One Painting, “Jansson writes spellbinding musical poetry and sketches luminous portraits in sound.... [His] music, always ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Lars Jansson Trio: Witnessing

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Good as this Swedish trio is -- and trust me, it’s very good -- it is pianist Lars Jansson’s exceptional talents as composer / arranger that raise it well above the ordinary. Every song on the album is Jansson’s, and had he misfired, the enterprise could have fallen flat on its face; instead it soars on the wings of his consistently fresh and invigorating melodies. He then ices the cake with thoroughly captivating improvisations, leavening every song with ample measures of sweetness and charm.

The pianist has an unerring ear for a lovely refrain, and it serves him well from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson: Ballads

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This is basically a trio album, but not completely; comprised of ballads by Swedish piano master Lars Jansson, but not completely. Songs like “The Tree,” “To the Mothers in Brazil” and “Something To Eat” may be ballads in the broadest sense of the word but their brisker tempos belie the image. And the trio becomes a quartet on occasion, then a sextet as horns are added on half a dozen numbers. “Something to Eat” is the only composition that’s not entirely Jansson’s, this one a group effort between Jansson, bassist Lars Danielsson and drummer Anders Kjellberg. Of course, one could ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson: Giving Receiving

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In searching for a word or phrase that best describes this album by Swedish pianist Lars Jansson’s sextet, the best I can come up with is “smooth Jazz with a touch of class.” What I mean is that even though the greater part of what is performed on Giving Receiving would not be in the least out of place on so–called “smooth Jazz” radio, these guys can really play! And Jansson’s compositions and charts, while in most cases smooth as spreadable butter, have far more caloric value per measure than the “liter” variety usually encountered on the airwaves or in ...



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