199

Andreas Pettersson: Gullin on Guitar

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Andreas Pettersson: Gullin on Guitar I'm always surprised—although I suppose I shouldn't be—by the number of jazz fans I encounter, musicians among them, who've never heard of Lars Gullin, one of the greatest (my opinion) baritone saxophonists who ever lived. The reason, I presume, is that Gullin (1928-1976) was Swedish, and although he performed with such outstanding American players as Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz, Clifford Brown, James Moody, Chet Baker and others, he rarely left his native country and never visited the US.

Even so, Gullin was an awesome talent, clearly in a class with Mulligan, Chaloff, Cecil Payne and more recent masters such as Pepper Adams, Nick Brignola, Jack Nimitz, Gary Smulyan and any others you'd care to name. In The All Music Guide to Jazz, Vol. 2, Scott Yanow writes that Gullin "did not live up to his enormous potential. Yes, he did, as anyone who has listened closely to his recordings would readily acknowledge.

Complementing his prowess as a player, Gullin was a gifted composer too, as is clearly evident on this welcome tribute by Swedish guitarist Andreas Pettersson and his quartet, on which almost everything was written by Gullin (Pettersson appended a bit of the folk song "Gamble Vau to one of Gullin's most well-known tunes, "Danny's Dream ). Gullin's ear for a charming melody is as conspicuous in his writing as it was in his playing. But once past the melodies, what remains is essentially a blowing session in which Pettersson shows excellent chops and a prolific imagination.

I was thinking as I listened that perhaps this might have worked even better as a solo guitar album, as Pettersson's teammates, albeit capable, are at times heavy-handed, inadvertently overshadowing his best efforts. This is especially true on the more spirited numbers ("Pals, "Decent Eyes, "Be Careful"), wherein pianist Daniel Karlson and drummer Joakim Ekberg come through loud and clear, often at the expense of Pettersson's more temperate guitar. It's not enough to dampen one's pleasure, but it can be distracting.

Be that as it may, "Careful is nevertheless one of the highlights, with everyone swinging hard behind forceful solos by all hands. The boppish "Lars Meets Jeff, on which the rhythm section shows admirable restraint and everyone plays enthusiastically, is another pinnacle, and perhaps should have been placed first, before "Pals. But the whys and wherefores remain unclear, as the liner notes (and everything else) are in Swedish.

When all is said and done, Gullin on Guitar is a warm and sensitive homage with respectable playing time and crystal-clear sound. But if you'd like to hear something that'll really blow your mind, look around for a recording or two by the incomparable Lars Gullin himself (Dragon Records would be an excellent place to start).

Visit Andreas Pettersson and Lars Gullin on the web.


Track Listing: Portrait of My Pals; Lars Meets Jeff; Dannys Dream/Gamble Valu; Fedja; Decent Eyes; For FJ Fans Only; Merlin; Be Careful; Silhouette (59:28).

Personnel: Andreas Pettersson, guitar; Daniel Karlson, piano; Hans Backenroth, bass; Joakim Ekberg, drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sonet/Universal | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Double Septet" CD/LP/Track Review Double Septet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "Guitarist, Alone" CD/LP/Track Review Guitarist, Alone
by John Eyles
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland" CD/LP/Track Review One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Play Date" CD/LP/Track Review Play Date
by James Nadal
Published: October 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!