Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Martin Sjöstedt & Stockholm Jazz Orchestra: Horizon

5

Martin Sjöstedt & Stockholm Jazz Orchestra: Horizon

By

Sign in to view read count
Martin Sjöstedt & Stockholm Jazz Orchestra: Horizon
The Stockholm Jazz Orchestra has been together since 1984—40 years at this writing. That is quite an achievement. especially in an age where large ensembles make little financial sense. In 1986, Bob Brookmeyer joined the band as a guest, eventually leading to his compositions featuring on their debut album, Dreams (Dragon, 1988). Subsequently, they have played with artists such as Maria Schneider and Yellowjackets and undertaken numerous worldwide tours.

Operating similarly to a jazz collective, all the musicians have their careers as accomplished soloists and composers. Since 2011, the band has primarily focused on music composed by its members, with Martin Sjöstedt having come to the fore as writer and arranger. Horizon features nine compositions, four composed by Sjöstedt, together with five standards. All the arrangements are written to highlight specific soloists. Sjöstedt acts as a pianist in this recording but is also known as a bassist. He has performed with artists such as Joe Lovano, Eric Alexander and Bobo Stenson.

The album opens with Herbie Hancock's "Butterfly." It sets the standard for the album with razor-sharp horn timing in a sprightly call and response, before Fredrik Kronkvist cuts loose with his alto saxophone. Sjöstedt has a solo at the end that flows and softens the edges.

Throughout the album, Sjöstedt's vision is to create freedom for individuals to solo, much as in a piano trio, but within a framework that embodies a big band. He mainly succeeds with this aim. Johan Christoffersson's alto saxophone catches the ear in Sjöstedt's "Intervals." Karl Olandersson's trumpet and Hannes Junestav's trombone both excel in Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee," while Peter Dahlgren's trombone is sharply focused on John Coltrane's "26-2." All are underpinned by fine work by bassist Niklas Fernqvist and Adam Ross on drums.

The band's arrangement of Abdullah Ibrahim's "The Wedding" is sublime. Notable for Karl-Martin Almqvist's tenor saxophone and Olandersson's trumpet, the band takes Ibrahim's spare and graceful tune and finds new elements of melody, whilst maintaining the tinge of sadness that the tune demands.

Elsewhere, Sjöstedt's composition "Tengtones" displays great combinations between his piano and Nils Janson's trumpet. There is a swing and swagger in another Sjöstedt composition, "Mulgrew." The arrangement of Coltrane's "Equinox" ends the album in great style. The warm and impassioned atmosphere is enhanced by Almqvist's saxophone and Magnus Broo's trumpet.

Navigating the tricky waters between the freedom of the soloist and the demands of a large ensemble, Sjöstedt's proficient arrangements allow the orchestra to make waves whilst finding channels for the soloist to fit naturally. The orchestra plays flawlessly, often weaving textures that can seamlessly shift from dark to light while the soloists improvise at a high level, making this an attractive example of the jazz orchestra art form.

Track Listing

Butterfly; Intervals; Donna Lee; Horizon; The Wedding; Mulgrew; 26-2; Tengtones; Equinox.

Personnel

Martin Sjöstedt
band / ensemble / orchestra
Magnus Broo
trumpet
Nils Janson
trumpet
Peter Dahlgren
trombone
Karin Hammar
trombone
Anders Viborg
trombone, bass
Fredrik Kronkvist
saxophone, alto
Karl-Martin Almqvist
saxophone, tenor
Andreas Gidlund
saxophone, tenor
Adam Ross
drums

Album information

Title: Horizon | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Ubuntu Music

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Tidal Currents: East Meets West
Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
This Celestial Engine
This Celestial Engine
Flax
Martin Arnold
Whisper Not
Paul Kendall

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.