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Danish guitarist Søren Lee summarizes the philosophy behind Living Now, his third album as leader, in a single sentence: “This music is a story told straight from my heart to everyone who cares to listen.” It’s an expansive story, at times compelling, at others beauteous, woven entirely from the threads of his musical resourcefulness (all of the songs were composed by Lee). It is, however, a story that has been recounted many times before, in style if not in substance, and some listeners may find its familiarity tedious. Still, Lee and his companions narrate it about as well as one could wish, and are especially persuasive when the storyline slackens, as it frequently does (of the ten selections, half a dozen are ballads). Lee is a capable player on acoustic or electric guitar but not one to quicken one’s pulse rate or raise any goosebumps, and the same can be said of his frontline partner, organist / pianist Jesper Nordenström. They are earnestly supported by bassist Mads Vinding (who’d be my first choice to anchor almost any rhythm section) and drummer Martin Andersen, while accordionist Lelo Nika imparts a welcome splash of color on “Ballad for the Soul.” Lee’s compositions are pleasant but by no means memorable, with “Silent Beauty,” the samba “Kati” (written for his wife) and “Ballad for the Soul” among the best of them. A capable guitar / organ combo with topdrawer rhythm section that speaks in an often subdued but generally charming voice.
Contact:Stunt Records, 29 W. Maple Avenue, Bellmawr, NJ 08031 (phone 8569316441; fax 8569316445. Web site, www.sundance.dk
Track Listing: Living Now; When You Are Near; Groove Commitment; Light Waves; Silent Beauty; New Possibilities; Ballad for the Soul; Grace; Kati; Freedom in Life (55:30).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.