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Lisa Bjorange at Bullret Jazz Club

Lisa Bjorange at Bullret Jazz Club
Patrick Burnette By

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Bjorange’s quintet is very much a jazz group that includes a singer, and while she writes much of the material the group plays, there is more emphasis on improvisation and exploration than on 'playing the tunes.'
Lisa Bjorange Quintet
Bullret Jazz Club
Malmo, Sweden
January 29, 2018

"Bullret Jazz Club," in the "Kuben" space at Malmo Live hosted an appearance by the Lisa Björänge Quintet on January 29, 2018. The group offered two sets filled with youthful energy and risk taking.

Bjorange's quintet is very much a jazz group that includes a singer, and while she writes much of the material the group plays, there is more emphasis on improvisation and exploration than on "playing the tunes." Bjorange is an aggressive, sometimes feral scatter, fond of inserting high-pitched squeals and leaps into her performances that galvanized the music but were sometimes over-used. Her original songs include introspective material, but the band's willingness to stretch out in unexpected directions on every performance lessened the emotional impact of some tunes. The group covered ABBA's "Lay Your Love On Me" and the Beatle's "Help" with completely retooled melodies and harmonies. Who says jazz doesn't have a sense of humor? All lyrics were sung in English.

Keyboardist Fabian Kallerdahl played excellent piano, but resorted to a tinny-sounding synthesizer too often. There's nothing wrong with incorporating electronics into improvisation—it just didn't make aesthetic sense in this case. Jon Falt's drumming was excitable and interventionist and Ola Landin's bass playing anchored the group. The tenor player appearing does not seem to be an official part of the quintet. Lacking Swedish, I can only relate that he played forceful, broken phrases that enhanced the music and that he looks a little like David Lynch's younger brother. If you have a chance to see this group live, do so—they are brimming with the spirit of adventure and about as far from the Diana Krall supper-club vibe as a singer-led group can get.

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