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The Jonas Knutsson Quartet: Fly Away

Jack Bowers By

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Lovely and persuasive chamber Jazz that’s not without its hot–blooded moments performed by a quartet of accomplished young Swedish musicians led by thirty–seven–year old saxophonist Jonas Knutsson. Except for Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy” (coupled with “On the Lee Side”), everything was written by Knutsson, and the music draws its inspiration from sources as disparate as Swedish folk songs and waltzes, the Brazilian Baiao, Afican pygmy music and of course, contemporary Jazz. The themes are bright and lyrical, and marked by unexpected curves, handsome colors and variable tempos. The quartet is equal to the challenge, with pianist Anders Persson never wasting a note but placing each one in its proper place, drummer Rafael Sida adding strength or subtlety as needed, and bassist Sebastién Dubé keeping flawless time and bowing marvelously, as on “Fly Away,” “Horn’s Street,” “Änglar” and “Loriken.” As for Knutsson, he’s consistently impressive on baritone (“Fly Away,” “Änglar,” “Loriken”), alto (“Kangaroo Woman,” “Trädet”) or soprano sax (“Horn’s Street,” “I Loves You Porgy / The Lee Side,” “Eine Kleine März Musik,” “Smiles,” “Loriken”). He may be playing sopranino on one or more of them, but I can’t tell the difference. On baritone, Knutsson’s manner is soft and restrained, rather like another Swede, the great Lars Gullin, while on alto he is more assertive, showing on the fast–paced “Kanaroo Woman” that he’s no stranger to the late Art Pepper. “Kangaroo Woman” (which includes a virtuosic solo by Sida) is a highlight, but only one among on an album that is brimming with pleasant surprises.

Contact: STIM / Svensk Musik (Swedish Music Center), Box 27327, SE–102 54, Stockholm, Sweden. Phone +46 8 783 88 00. E–mail swedmic@stim.se; web site, www.mic.stim.se


Track Listing: Fly Away; Horn

Personnel: Jonas Knutsson, alto, soprano, baritone sax; Anders Persson, piano; Sebasti

Title: Fly Away | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Touch


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