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Sol Sol: Almost All Things Considered

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Ever since the untimely passing of the pianist Esbjorn Svensson in 2008, and the consequent diminution of his trio's radio-friendly but lightweight style, Sweden's then predominant place in Scandinavian jazz has ceded ground to Norway. So, anyway, do the results of a statistically totally invalid survey of observers in this parish suggest.

But change may be coming. In May 2024 alone two world-class Swedish albums have been released—Sol Sol's Almost All Things Considered, and Angles' jazz opera The Death Of Kalypso (Thanatosis), which is reviewed here. The discs are the latest in a steady trickle of noteworthy jazz recordings from post-pandemic Stockholm.

Sol Sol is a quartet comprising saxophonist Elin Forkelid, guitarist David Stackenäs, double bassist Mauritz Agnas and drummer Anna Lund. Its style is open ended, taking in a little Jimi Hendrix through Stackenäs and a little Ornette Coleman through Forkelid, the group's co-leaders and co-composers. Carla Bley pokes her head round the corner from time to time too. Sol Sol released its first album in 2019 and followed up with What Year Is It? (Sail Cabin) in 2022. That album nailed pandemic ennui with its title and delighted with its, at times, gentle lyricism. Almost All things Considered is a case of more is more—more free jazz, more distorted guitar, more gravelly baritone sax.

The opening and closing minutes of the album's extended first track, "Elena," sound like something American outside agitators Irreversible Entanglements might have recorded (without Moor Mother on the mic). But around half of the rest of the album inhabits gentler and prettier terrain. Only the title track (check the YouTube below), with its ruff 'n' tuff baritone sax, and sections of closer "Hello Again, Paul," show traces of Forkelid's alma mater, Mats Gustafsson's ferocious Fire! Orchestra and, perhaps, her Elin Forkelid Plays For Trane quintet and its freewheeling interpretations of John Coltrane's work.

Sophisticated without being clever, varied without being all over the place, outside without being inaccessible, Almost All Things Considered is Sol Sol's best album yet.

Track Listing

Elena; If Not, Marbles; First Days Of Spring; Almost All Things Considered; Can I Have The Bill, Please?; Hello Again, Paul.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Elin Forkelid: tenor, alto and baritone saxophones; David Stackenäs: electric guitar; Mauritz Agnas: double bass; Anna Lund: drums.

Album information

Title: Almost All Things Considered | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Sail Cabin Records


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