It took me a while to warm to Lochiel's Warning, the latest album by Swedish trumpeter Peter Asplund, and that's partly because the sequencing is flawed. As a result, it's one of those sessions wherein the whole seems less than the sum of its parts, if you follow my drift.
Asplund is a splendid trumpeter, one of Europe's finest, and his companions are world-class. Having said that, the opinion here is that not much happens before track three, Rodgers and Hart's "Falling in Love with Love," when everyone seems to find the spark that was missing on Ellington's "Sentimental Mood" and "26 Steps," the first of five compositions by Asplund. Gershwin's "Summertime" swings nicely, and "Lochiel's Warning," on which Asplund uses a Harmon mute (as he does on "Lose the Blues"), is nestled in an amiable Latin groove.
Pianist Jacob Karlzon takes the reins on a neatly camouflaged version of Cole Porter's "Everything I Love," with Asplund surfacing five minutes into the scenario. The last three tunes, all by Asplund, are no better than average, with overdubbing used to enlarge the trumpeter's role on "Carpe Noctem." Among the three, the up-tempo "Blues" is easily the best, with acrobatic blowing by Asplund and inspired brushwork by drummer Johan Löfcrantz Ramsay (Karlzon and bassist Hans Andersson sit that one out).
At his best, which he is at least part of the time here, Asplund is a superb player, blending the lyricism of a Tom Harrell with the awareness of a Randy Brecker and the intensity of such young lions as Nicholas Payton, Marcus Printup or the pre-hip hop Roy Hargrove. Lochiel's Warning, on the other hand, abounds with peaks and valleys, making it hard to gauge precisely what Asplund and his mates are trying to accomplish, and one must do a lot of climbing to arrive at the session's high points. For some, the ascent may be worth the reward.
In a Sentimental Mood; 26 Steps; Falling in Love with Love; Summertime; Lochiel's Warning; Everything I Love; Lose the Blues; Carpe Noctem; Beate.
Peter Asplund: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jacob Karlzon: piano; Hans Andersson: bass; Johan L
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