Danish bassist Jesper Lundgaard likens the making of the latest album with his trio to cooking a successful meal: "Eight new songs, two standards, sax, bass, guitar, three microphones, the recording machine, 12 hours playing, 12 hours mixing, 12 hours design stuff, 12 hours practical stuff, four weeks of waiting, everything stirred thoroughly."
Or, in musical terms, "We tried to create an intimate album, utilizing a minimalistic approach." One way or another the result is a wonderfully relaxed and enjoyable listening experience.
While not all these songs are, strictly speaking, blues, all have a bluesy feel.
Lundgaard's own "K.B. Blues" gets things going. Hans Ulrik states the lilting, gently swinging theme on tenor, deftly underpinned by the leader. Even when Niclas Knudsen takes over on guitar, Ulrik can be heard repeating the theme in the background until fade-out.
Ulrik's "Walking In Circles" is more muscular, taking some interesting directions before he gives way to Knudsen for a solo that is an understated object lesson in blues guitar playing.
Lundgaard holds the rhythm of the drumless session together throughout, contributing a fine bowed solo on Ulrik's gospel-tinged "The Meeting." He's also to the fore on "The Meaning Of The Blues," written by Bobby Troup, who wrote "Route 66" and had the great good fortune to be married to Julie London. Somewhat ironically, it's a 32-bar popular song, not a blues at all.
Neither is "Vals Fra Nørrebro
(Nørrebro Waltz)" the Scandinavian folk song it would appear to be, but an excellent recreation of the idiom by Knudsen. John Coltrane
wrote "Naima" for his wife. It was one of his loveliest ballads and is given a heartfelt re-run here.
My compliments to the chef.
K.B. Blues; Walking In Circles; The Meeting; The Meaning Of The Blues; Three Birds In Paris; Doug; Stafet; Vals Fra Nørrebro; Naima; Waltz For K.
Jesper Lundgaard: bass; Hans Ulrik: tenor saxophone; Niclas Knudsen: guitar.