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Karin Hammar With The Mathias Landaeus Trio At Underground

Karin Hammar With The Mathias Landaeus Trio At Underground
Patrick Burnette By

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Hammar invests emotionally in each tune, presenting the trombone as a vehicle for introspection and romance rather than comedy.
Karin Hammar with the Mathias Landaeus Trio
Underground
Lund, Sweden
April 25, 2018

Trombonist Karin Hammar blows her horn with authority—her technical control in all registers impresses without slipping into self-indulgence, and she has a pleasing, warm sound on the instrument. On her Wednesday night gig with the Mathias Landaeus trio, she occasionally augmented her sound with electronics, but these were more exercises in punctuation than a full-scale commitment along the lines of, say, Miles and his wa-wa pedal in the early seventies. While she joked with the audience (in Swedish), she doesn't joke on her horn. Her lines are clearly articulated and have real musical substance. Hammar invests emotionally in each tune, presenting the trombone as a vehicle for introspection and romance rather than comedy. She packed too many slow tunes into each set—a little more variety of tempo and mood would add to the emotional impact of the more serious outings. Bossa is an important part of her sound, but, as is the case with many European players, the blues plays a smaller roll. She sang two tunes on the second set in the cooler-than-cool, just slightly flat, manner of Astrud Gilberto, but clearly her focus is on the trombone.

Landaeus' trio provided excellent and sympathetic support. At least two of the three members soloed on every song, and while their ideas were good, at times one longed for a second horn (or a guitar or violin) to provide some textural variety. Drummer Cornelia Nilsson stood out for her constantly inventive playing on the kit, though her solos were sometimes less compelling than her accompaniment, but Landaeus on keyboards and Johnny Åman on bass also contributed fine solos and sensitive interaction.

It is always exciting to discover another accomplished jazz trombonist. The field is underpopulated (or, at least, underexposed) and Hammar's playing serves as a fine reminder that her horn of choice is suited to ballads and bossas as well as second-line shenanigans.

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