Taking such free jazz patron saints as Ayler and Coleman as their inspiration the trio blazes out of the gate in a go-for-broke barrage of ecstatic energy designed to take no prisoners and convert even the most ardent skeptics. Their freewheeling rendition of Ayler’s ‘Spirits’ that ignites the set rockets through the spiraling folk theme before an immolating in an explosion of fiery improvisation. Even at their woolliest they never lose a rock solid groove as their knee-knocking take on Coleman’s ‘Ramblin’ ably demonstrates. Over the course of the track Jansson and Sjökvist throw down an ambulating rhythm that hits an in the pocket tightness while still retaining a loose elastic dimension that tapping feet will find hard to ignore. In comparison “Orinoco” alights in a minor mood as Jansson’s fiercely incessant strums and a bustling beat by Sjökvist that once again lock down a compact groove for Holmström’s wildly assertive tenor to feed off of at length.
The three show off their sentimental side on “Bananas Oas,” by way of a breezy shuffle and relaxed melodic strains that flirt with youthful romance. “No Hip Shit” on the other hand is “Bananas” dark and fuming cousin. It’s a piece that starts with Sjökvist’s tumbling traps before Holmström’s lower register lines take up the slack and blast through the rhythmic wall with the force of rampaging floodwaters. “Eritrea Libre” also sounds heavily concerned with cathartic release as Sjökvist’s vocal howls intone with the trip hammer figures of saxophone, drums and bass.
Making a persuasive argument that Swedes that can funk it up as well as anybody else the group’s reading of Gary Bartz’s contagious “People’s Dance” works off a down-home syncopated groove. The track is largely a feature for Jansson who proves how deep he can go on his strings. The final three tracks, taken from a session roughly a year later revisit the trio in equally solid shape and with even a hint more solidarity audible in their interactions. With exports like this group in it’s history Sweden’s place in the free jazz cosmology begs for reevaluation on a wide scale.
Tracks:Spirits/ Ramblin’/ Orinoco/ Bananas Oas/ No Hip Shit/ Elf/ Eritrea Libre/ People’s Dance/ 101 W. 80th Street*/ Consolation*/ Ode to Albert Ayler*.
Personnel: Gilbert Holmstr
Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide
Style: Modern Jazz
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