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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 love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.