All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Lars Jansson Trio: Koan

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
A koan is a Zen Buddhist riddle that cannot be solved by the intellect alone. The best known, portrayed on the cover of Lars Jansson Trio's Koan, is "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" The koan has been described as a form of spiritual dynamite that can propel the mind into satori, or "spiritual equilibrium."

Swedish pianist Jansson sees his music as "a kind of koan." He says, "You can of course analyze music in terms of form, tonality, rhythm and chords, but the experience of it and how music affects people is beyond our rational understanding." He dedicates this album to the Japanese people and, in particular, the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

This hugely talented musician offers the Land of the Rising Sun music that is original, rhythmic, melodic and thoughtful—a take on Japanese culture and religion filtered through jazz and Nordic idealism. The opening number, "Shikantaza," literally means "just sitting," but is actually a form of Zen meditation in which the mind strives to be brightly alert but free from thought. The music reflects both the interior struggle it takes to get there and the bliss of arrival.

Not all Jansson's songs draw their inspiration from Japan or Zen, however. "Romantic," one of the set's most interesting tracks, starts off sounding more like a folk song from its creator's own Land of the Midnight Sun, before turning into a highly rhythmic and penetrating musical exploration worthy of one of the greats.

The quietly funky "Jamal" is a salute to pianist Ahmad Jamal who, with Bill Evans, is one of Jansson's Precursors. On the understated swinger "Koan 2," young drummer Paul Svanberg pushes things along very nicely.

"The Organist," a lilting, melancholic ballad, features a fine solo from bassist Thomas Fonnesbaek. On the closer, the short "Hippocampus," Jansson is joined by five members of the classical Ensemble MidtVest, which played with him on his previous Worship of Self (Prophone, 2012). It—and the rest of the album—leaves hopes for motto: that's Japanese for more.

Track Listing: Shikantaza; Koan 3; El Piloto; A Gentle Heart; Iceland; He Who Sings And Sobs; Too Good To Me; Romantic; Uroboros; Jamal; Koan 2; The Organist; Hippocampus (Woodwinds 5).

Personnel: Lars Jansson: piano; Thomas Fonnesbæk: bass; Paul Svanberg: drums.

Title: Koan | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Prophone Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Satori

Satori

Prophone Records
2016

buy
Koan

Koan

Prophone Records
2012

buy
Worship Of Self

Worship Of Self

Prophone Records
2012

buy
In Search of Lost Time

In Search of Lost Time

Prophone Records
2011

buy
 

What's New

The ACT Company
2010

buy
 

Artist´s Dreams

Point of Departure, WMPG-FM
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Selective Coverage" CD/LP/Track Review Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Man No Longer Me" CD/LP/Track Review Man No Longer Me
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 27, 2017
Read "Involution" CD/LP/Track Review Involution
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Turned into Lemonade" CD/LP/Track Review Turned into Lemonade
by Matt Hooke
Published: September 2, 2018
Read "Es:sensual" CD/LP/Track Review Es:sensual
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves" CD/LP/Track Review Stained Glass & Technicolor Grooves
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 15, 2018