Swedish saxophonist, composer and arranger Helge Albin has led the Tolvan Big Band since 1979. Albin turned this ambitious, up-to-date big band, located in Malmö in southern Sweden, into a musical institution with an international reputation. They have collaborated with notable American musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Liebman and Michael Brecker, British composer Mike Westbrook and Danish saxophonist Lars Møller; the band even dedicated one of its programs to new arrangements of the John Lennon songbook.
Effortlessly is the second album dedicated to Albin's refined compositions and sophisticated orchestration after Tolvan Plays The Music of Helge Albin (Naxos Jazz, 1977). Albin makes full use of the vibrant energy of this 18-piece big band and its talented soloists. His compositions, all rooted in the jazz legacy, employ infinite possibilities for abstraction of the strong themes, introducing fresh dynamics and colors. All are performed with light, joyful elegance.
Two compositions stand out as the most impressive. On both only one soloist is featured and the energy of the big band is restrained. The first, "Stillness in Motion," featuring soprano saxophonist Cennet Jönsson as the main soloist, contrasts between his lush and gentle telling of the melodic theme, as a kind of nuanced story full of twists and suspense, with the muscular sound of the big band. The second, the serene "Con Brio," features pianist Jorgen Emborg as the main soloist, and weaves a fragile interplay between Emborg's beautiful variations of the melody and the subdued answers of the brass and woodwind sections.
Impressive display of the big band art.
Track Listing: Get Up! (Don't Hit The Snooze Button!); Bluesy Minor; Shortcuts;
Effortlessly; Stillness In Motion; Find Your Way Out; Con Brio.
Personnel: Helge Albin: alto saxophone, flute, musical director; Ulf Holmström -
alto saxophone, alto flute, clarinet; Inge Petersson: tenor saxophone,
clarinet; Cennet Jönsson: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass
clarinet; Bernt Sjunnesson: baritone saxophone, flute; Anders
Gustafsson: trumprt, fligelhorn (1,2,3,7); Hans Dyvik: trumpet,
flugelhorn (4,5,6); Christer Gustafsson: trumpet, flugelhorn (4,5,6);
Tobias Wiklund: trumpet, flugelhorn (1,2,3,7); Roy Wall: trumpet,
flugelhorn; Fredrik Davidsson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gerard Presencer:
trumpet, flugelhorn; Vincent Nilsson: trombone, alto trombone (2);
Olle Tull: trombone (4,5,6); Kim Aagaard: trombone (1,2,3,7); Ola
Åkerman: trombone; Ola Nordqvist: trombone; Björn Hängsel: bass
trombone; Jørgen Emborg: piano; Patrik Albin: double bass; Lennart
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.