Ornette Coleman's haunting "Lonely Woman" is becoming something of a 2023 soundtrack. At the time of writing, we have had memorable versions from Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble on Spirit Gatherer (Spirit Muse), and Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter on The Iridescent Spree (Edition), plus another couple of efforts about which the less said the better.
Here comes a third boss edition. Sort of. "Låt Våra Tårar Bli Våra Vapen," which opens side two of Vilhelm Bromander's arresting spiritual-jazz album, In This Forever Unfolding Moment, is described in the publicity material as bearing "whisps" of Coleman's tune. Some whisps. Bromander's harmolody is so close to Coleman's original that it would be an understatement to even call it a contrafact. It is a variation on Coleman's tune, and a subtle variation at that.
Bromander has been a presence on the Swedish avant-jazz and free improv scene since the mid 2010s. In This Forever Unfolding Moment is his first venture into spiritual jazz. He has clearly made a close study of the American canon but brings a Scandinavian frisson to the affair. The thirteen-piece ensemble includes six horns, two drummers and dhrupad singer Marianne Svasěk, who, accompanied only by Bromander on tanpura, provides a six-minute overture to the seventeen-minute opening title-track, which includes a borderline-chromatic trumpet solo from Emil Strandberg. Chromaticism does not feature much in spiritual jazz, thank goodness, but Strandberg brings a nice tartness and does not overstay his welcome.
Bromander makes effective through-composition use of the ensemble on "In This Forever Unfolding Moment" and "Låt Våra Tårar Bli Våra Vapen." By contrast, for the third and final track, "Blommor Och Bröd," Bromander narrows the focus down to himself on acoustic bass, vibraphonist Mattias Ståhl, violinist Katt Hernandez, pianist Alex Zethson and bass clarinetist Christer Bothen.
If there is a criticism to be made of this album it is only that at 33 minutes it is too short.
P.S. Another interesting, if more esoteric, Bromander album is Within Reach Of Eventuality (Thanatosis, 2022), recorded with alto saxophonist David Bennet. The four-part suite is a drone-like exploration of tones and textures. Minority interest, but we like minorities.
In This Forever Unfolding Moment; Låt Våra Tårar Bli Våra Vapen; Blommor Och Bröd.
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