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Swedish guitarist Per Sjödin slips into mainstream jazz with measured grace and a pocketful of soul. His regular band is a trio with Danish organist Kjeld Lauritsen, whom he met on a gig, and Swedish drummer Zoltan Csörsz, Jr. On this debut recording, Sjödin has astutely added Mårten Lundgren (trumpet) and Magnus Lindgren (tenor) on four of the tracks to extend the impact of the compositions. Sjödin's writing strongly asserts melody, and his playing is juicy and ripe, nourished by the dip into the music and enhanced by texture.
Sjödin pays tribute to one of his heroes, Horace Silver, on "Silverado. The theme bounces from his guitar, then the focus shifts to Lindgren, who carries it into bop domain on tenor. The tune settles in this territory, and Lundgren carves a niche on the trumpet. Sjödin pays tribute to another inspiration, John Coltrane, on the whipcord "Mr. JC. The tension and groove of the twelve-bar blues are both elevated by the level of heated energy Sjödin sets in motion.
The leader also explores his softer side, with artistry and a firm grasp of the vocabulary, in a solo version of the standard "My One and Only Love. The band enriches the euphonic "After the Summer Rain, where Sjödin is nimble and articulate, rarely digressing from the melodic core. Lauritsen uses the rich tonality of the Hamond B3 to extend the sonic screen.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.