Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Artistry Jazz Group: Live For The First Time

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Artistry Jazz Group

Live For The First Time



This DVD records a big day in the small world of Scandinavian jazz: after two first class studio albums, Artistry Jazz Group performing live for the first time. And it does so in Södra Teatern, Stockholm's oldest theater, built in 1859 on the heights of Mosebacke where, exactly 20 years later, August Strindberg would set his classic novel The Red Room.

The theater's current program is by and large musical, boasting "holistic experiences from all corners of the world." Jan Lundgren (piano), Jacob Fischer (guitar), Hans Backenroth (bass), Johan Löcrantz Ramsay (drums) and vocalist Vivian Buczek must have felt some trepidation as the curtain went up.

The 14 numbers they played were taken from their Volenza albums, We Like Previn—A Jazz Tribute to André Previn (2009) and Too Darn Hot—Together With Cole Porter (2010), both well received locally.

With just one camera focused the whole time on the band, it's hard to tell how they went down. Indeed, the DVD conveys very little sense of occasion at all, with visual proceedings becoming static and predictable after the first few numbers.

This is a shame because the music is extremely good with some fine interplay, particularly between Lundgren and Fischer. Backenroth's work at the difficult end of his instrument is also really quite remarkable, especially on Lundgren's excellent arrangement of "Coco," which Previn wrote for the 1969 Broadway musical of the same name, based on the life of French couturier "Coco" Chanel.

Buczek, so good on record, is a bit of a disappointment live. She's at her best on "Like Young," managing to inject a new vitality into lyrics that make reference to Kerouac, angry young men and squares.

But she's simply not up to getting across the tongue-in-cheek sensuality of the opening number, "Too Darn Hot," or the closer, "It's All Right With Me." And when it comes to Previn's "You're Gonna Hear From Me," it's difficult to believe her as she sings such "knock 'em dead" lyrics as I'm staking my claim, Remember my name while ending with a shy "Tack så mycket" (Swedish for "thank you very much") and an awkward "little girl" curtsey.

For the viewer, it's Fischer to the rescue. Lean and rangy, the Dane displays a laconic fluency on his Gibson and openly registers his delight and—on one occasion—even apparent displeasure with Lundgren's work on piano, a young, gunslinging Clint Eastwood facing down the leader's more cultivated impression of Peter O'Toole.

Judging from the applause, the number that went over best was Porter's "You Do Something To Me," and Löfcrantz Ramsay's breaks on "From This Moment On" also met with approval. So, an holistic experience? Well, as Fats Waller used to say, "One never knows, do one?"

After playing this gig, Artistry Jazz Group recorded yet another tribute album. This one, a homage to a wide variety of jazz composers, was titled simply Tribute! (Volenza, 2012). Excellent though it was, it must now—surely?—be time for a change of direction.



comments powered by Disqus


Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Film Reviews
Green Book: A Serious Comedy and Jazz Allegory
By Victor L. Schermer
December 28, 2018
Film Reviews
Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (2CD/Blu Ray)
By John Kelman
December 22, 2018
Film Reviews
Green Book Directed By Peter Farrelly
By Mike Perciaccante
December 3, 2018
Film Reviews
Rolling Stones: Voodoo Lounge Uncut
By Doug Collette
November 17, 2018
Film Reviews
Rolling Stone: Stories From The Edge - 50 Years of Defining Culture
By Doug Collette
October 7, 2018
Film Reviews
The US Festival 1982: The US Generation
By Doug Collette
September 2, 2018
Film Reviews
Lajos Dudas: Ein Künstlerportrait
By Mark Sullivan
August 26, 2018