Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

291

Bjorn Samuelsson: Jazz Formation: A Letter To Ake Persson

Ken Kase By

Sign in to view read count
Trombone enthusiasts can rejoice at the arrival of a new voice on an instrument which has been unjustly under-represented in the jazz canon. Regardless of Björn Samuelsson's considerable technique, fine intonation and improvisational prowess, the arrival of his debut disc featuring a quartet with trombone out front is likely to raise a few eyebrows.

Jazz Formation pays tribute to Swedish trombonist Åke Persson, a talent whose name might be unfamiliar to many jazz fans but whose reputation in European circles places him alongside J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller. He earned this reputation in the fifties and sixties backing many visiting American jazz luminaries and cutting just a few sides between 1951 and 1959. He died in 1975, one year before Samuelsson was born.

Samuelsson manages to pay homage to this little known but obviously influential musician without sacrificing his own budding and distinct voice. The disc kicks off with one of two Persson compositions, "Blue 3/4," in which Samuelsson takes a down-home stride with a natural feeling for the blues. The quartet's reading of "What Is This Thing Called Love" is bursting with energy as Samuelsson channels the elder trombonist's hard bop roots amidst the rhythm section's modernist twists.

"Nassie Goreng" and "Mountain Music" find Samuelsson flexing considerable muscle as an arranger, using overdubbed trombones to emulate an entire section. The latter piece features Åke Persson's recorded solo arranged in four parts. Samuelsson contributes six of the twelve selections, including the darkly beautiful "Statement" and warm, open "Alone at Last."

The second Persson composition, "Monotones," shows how dangerous the rhythm section can be when provoked by high-octane swing. Samuelsson's "A Done Deal" and "License to Chill" (the latter complete with a trippy companion remix) finds the quartet pursuing more modern sounds, lest the listener be tricked into thinking that its approach is consistently retro. Far from it. The influence of Persson's playing manifests itself as a launching point for a wide range of styles and ideas that are uniquely Samuelsson's domain. One can trace a direct lineage from the post-war trombonists' newfound facility for the vocabulary of bebop to Samuelsson's capacity for the demands of the modern language of jazz. It is a smooth transition—one worth noting, especially by those who might deign to impose constrictions of genre on his work.

Björn Samuelsson's debut promises great things. It will be interesting to see if this particular group of musicians will be able to stay together long enough to develop an even deeper rapport, as all four share an uncommon empathy and sense of fun. With Jazz Formation, Samuelsson proves himself to be a first-rate musician with exceptional creative powers.

Track Listing: Blue in

Personnel: Bj

Title: Jazz Formation: A Letter to Ake Persson | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Imogena


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bricks CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017
Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Compass" CD/LP/Track Review Compass
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Synchronic" CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Pelagos" CD/LP/Track Review Pelagos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Hanukkah" CD/LP/Track Review Hanukkah
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Two Roads" CD/LP/Track Review Two Roads
by Jim Olin
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017

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!