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This compilation, encompassing selections from a dozen albums on Lars Samuelson’s splendid Four Leaf Clover label, showcases many of Sweden’s foremost Jazz artists with a handful of Americans getting in their licks as well. Personnel are listed but not specific instruments, so we’ve had to withdraw the information from our not–always–reliable memory bank and apologize in advance for any errors that may have crept in. As is usually the case with Four Leaf Clover, the music is straight–ahead and swinging with no unwelcome dischords to jar one’s senses. Highlights include the cross–cultural pairings (Rolf Ericson and Johnny Griffin, “Double Digit”; Bobby Shew and Jan Allan, “Bilingual”; Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and the Swedish Radio Big Band, “Love to One”) and some superb blowing by the Swedes themselves including veteran alto saxophonist Arne Domnérus who sounds a lot like Bud Shank on Duke Ellington’s “Take Love Easy”; brawny organist Kjell Öhman who transmits a scorching message on “Alice’s Fax”; the wonderful young pianist Jan Lundgren, typically graceful on “Flip Top Girl”; and the country’s leading Jazz clarinetist, Putte Wickman, warm and romantic on Leif Strand’s “Desire.” Included are selections by bassist Red Mitchell (“But Beautiful”), whose album A Declaration of Independence earned a Swedish Grammy award in 1990, and the late wizard of the euphonium, Rich Matteson, with Mitchell, trombonist Phil Wilson and Swedish stars Bengt Hallberg (piano) and Egil Johansen (drums) who romp merrily through Wilson’s “Budda Eastern Bebop.” Britisher Georgie Fame sings Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm,” Kim Parker the standard “A Beautiful Friendship,” and organist Pierre Swård closes the album with the funky “Get on Down to the B3 Sound.” As samplers go this is a pretty good one, worth considering if one hasn’t stumbled upon these particular albums, which aren’t readily available here in the States.
Contact:Four Leaf Clover Records, Box 1231, S–1722 24 Sundbyberg, Sweden (e–mail email@example.com; web site, www.flc.se).
Track Listing: Take Love Easy; Double Digit; A Beautiful Friendship; Love to One; Bilingual; Alice
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.