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I’d read several rave reviews of young Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren and looked forward to listening for myself to hear if he was as good as others said he was. He is. Lundgren has, among other things, exquisite taste, marvelous touch, flawless technique, an attentive ear, power to spare when called for, and a bounteous wellspring of creative ideas. He can swing too. Negatives? I can’t hear any aside from the fact that his compositions (“Bird of Passage,” “Departure,” “Looking Back”) are less than spellbinding. Bassist Andersson and drummer Tollbom authored one song apiece (“Flegman’s Triumf,” “Dragonfly,” respectively), and Lundgren has bookended these originals with two of the loveliest ballads ever written, “This Is All I Ask” and “With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair.” Tenor Rich Perry, present on all but the opening track, and trumpeter Bergcrantz (“Bird of Passage,” “Departure”) are dependable albeit panoramic post–boppers, while Andersson and Tollbom carry out their largely nurturing assignment with dexterity and enthusiasm (each one solos persuasively, Tollbom on “Dragonfly,” Andersson on “Looking Back” and “Wind and the Rain”). This is an admirable session by an up–and–coming young keyboard artist. If the originals were as convincing as the standards (which easily outdistance anything else on the program) it would earn our unreserved approval. Even with that modest blemish, it is well worth considering.
Track listing: This Is All I Ask; Bird of Passage; Flegmans Triumf; Dragonfly; Departure; Looking Back; With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair (65:54).
Jan Lundgren, piano; Rich Perry, tenor saxophone (except 1); Anders Bergcrantz, trumpet (2, 5); Hans Andersson, bass; P.A. Tollbom, drums.
Contact: Four Leaf Clover Records, Box 1231, S-17224 Sundbyberg, Sweden (e-mail email@example.com).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.