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Album Review

Vivian Buczek: Live At The Palladium

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Vivian Buczek: Live At The Palladium
Swedish vocalist Vivian Buczek has been on the Scandinavian jazz scene for over a decade, releasing her first album, Can't We Be Friends (Skandia Music) in 2003. Live At The Palladium is her fourth solo album, though she's also recorded with the Artistry Jazz Group. The Palladium in question isn't the world- renowned London theatre, it's the one in Buczek's home town of Malmö, but this concert sparkles with such energy and vivacity that it could readily have graced the venue's more famous British counterpart.

The Claes Crona Trio—Crona on piano, Hans Backenroth on double bass and Johan Löfcrantz Ramsay on drums—provides empathetic backing throughout the album. Guitarist Elias Källvik makes two appearances and impresses with a warm-toned and fluid solo on "Bêbado E A Equilibrista" and his gently swinging rhythm which, in company with Ramsay's brush work, adds drive and groove to "Dearly Beloved."

Trumpeter Peter Asplund joins Buczek for a vocal duet on an up-tempo arrangement of Cole Porter's "It's Alright With Me" but, although he has a pleasant voice, he's not in Buczek's class. As a trumpeter, however, he's on great form, whether playing a boppish muted solo on "Tea For Two," a slinky lead line on "Caravan" - which also features a punchy bass solo from Backenroth—or a romantic slow tempo solo on "A Time For Love."

Buczek's a joy to hear; lively, energetic and in tune with the stories these songs are telling, she also shows a willingness to test her own abilities, even in this live setting, with some tricky tempos and changes. Her talent shines brightest on her version of Billy Strayhorn's glorious "Lush Life." Her performance shows a superb combination of technical skill, range and a sensibility that brings the lyric to life—all with spare, sensitive accompaniment from the excellent Crona. Buczek and Asplund's ambitious arrangement of Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster's "A Time For Love" runs a close second; the singer and musicians meet its challenges with great success, from Backenroth and Buczek's interplay to Asplund's trumpet solo.

Buczek has grown in confidence and skill from album to album over the past decade. Live At The Palladium is her most mature and vibrant recording so far, its live atmosphere capturing the intimacy and spontaneity of the performance. A stylish collection of songs, a great band and a terrific singer-all captured live in the heart of Malmö.

Track Listing

Tea For Two; Caravan; Dearly Beloved; It's Alright With Me; Lush Life; Social Call; O Bêbado E A Equilibrista; A Time For Love; A Night In Tunisia.

Personnel

Vivian Buczek: vocals; Peter Asplund: flugelhorn, trumpet, vocals; Claes Crona: piano; Hans Backenroth: double bass; Johan Löfcrantz Ramsay: drums; Elias Källvik: guitar (3, 7).

Album information

Title: Live At The Palladium | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Crown Jewels

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