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Kurt Jarnberg: Down Memory Lane 2

Jack Bowers By

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This two-CD (mostly) studio set features Swedish trombonist/trumpeter Kurt Jarnberg's quintet dates from 1966-68, the years in which the group was active. After successful appearances at the Talinn and Pori Jazz Festivals, the quintet was forced to dissolve, Jarnberg writes, owing to "lack of jobs." That's a shame, as these recordings showcase a talented and hard-swinging group of bop-oriented musicians who deserved a better fate.

Tenor saxophonist Roland Keijser shares the frontline with Jarnberg, while pianist Thomas Jutterstrom, bassist Curt Andersson and drummer Leif "Gus" Dalhberg keep the rhythm cooking. Keijser is a Dexter Gordon/Lucky Thompson/Charlie Rouse disciple, which means there's seldom a dull or wasted moment whenever he solos. Jarnberg echoes J.J. Johnson on trombone, and his trumpet solos embody more than a hint of the great Clifford Brown. As for the music (all but one track, Keisjer's "Strovtur," was arranged by Jarnberg), it is bright and accessible, even though at times unavoidably derivative (Dave Brubeck, for example, was clearly the impetus behind Jarnberg's "Kossan I Hagen," which appears on both discs, and "Tango Jaaco" mirrors Horace Silver's "Blues March").

The last five tracks on disc one were written by Americans: John Coltrane's fast-moving "Fifth House," Dizzy Gillespie's savory "Juicy Lucy," Fats Navarro's lyrical "Stop," Joe Henderson's boppish "Serenity" and Charles Lloyd's modal "Third Floor Richard," which the quintet reprises on disc two. Leroy Anderson is there as well, with his lovely "Serenata," as are Jimmy Heath ("Project S"), Art Blakey/Benny Golson ("La Divorcee de Leo Fall"), Jimmy Van Heusen ("Like Someone in Love") and Billy Reid ("I'll Close My Eyes"). Besides "Kossan I Hagen" and "Tango Jaaco," Jarnberg wrote "Nahkainen," "Fats and Tadd" and "Mr. Hemo." For those keeping score, Jarnberg plays trumpet on ten selections (including the first six on disc two), trombone on the other nine.

As noted, it's a pity Jarnberg's group couldn't have stayed together longer, as it shows considerable promise on these almost-forgotten sessions. Keijser is a capable improviser, as are pianist Jutterstrom and the leader, while the group as a whole is about as well-balanced as any European quintet for its day. As to sound quality, disc one is generally acceptable, reminiscent at times of Blue Note or Prestige albums from the '50s or '60s. disc two is more problematic, with some distortion and wide swings in volume and sound starting with track three, "Serenata" and continuing through the sixth, a second version of "Third Floor Richard," which were apparently recorded in concert. Tasteful jazz from Swedes who should have been more widely known and appreciated.

Track Listing: CD1: Nahkainen; Fats and Tadd; Kossan I Hagen; Why Do I Love You; Tango Jaaco; Fifth House; Juicy Lucy; Stop; Serenity; Third Floor Richard. CD2: I'll Close My Eyes; Strovtur; Serenata; La Divorcee de Leo Fall; Project S; Third Floor Richard; Mr. Hemo; Like Someone in Love; Kossan I Hagen.

Personnel: Kurt Jarnberg: composer, arranger, trumpet, trombone; Roland Keijser: tenor saxophone; Thomas Jutterstrom: piano; Curt Andersson: bass; Leif "Gus" Dahlberg: drums.

Title: Down Memory Lane 2 | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

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