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...

376

Ulf Wakenius: Notes from the Heart

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
One of the most significant artists of the past forty years, pianist Keith Jarrett continues to base his ever-evolving style on a remarkable stream-of-consciousness approach to improvisation. But with Jarrett focusing his energy almost exclusively on his longstanding Standards Trio and improvised solo piano performances for the past two decades, it's easy to forget that he's also written a wealth of memorable compositions. Still, Jarrett asserts that improvisation is nothing less than composition in real time, and he's absolutely right.

But Jarrett's influence reaches beyond pianists. His ability to combine an almost fragile lyricism with richer complexities and imbue the jazz language with an appealing folksiness has influenced more than one generation of players on other instruments, including the equally influential guitarist Pat Metheny.

Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius' style has clearly been filtered through Jarrett and Metheny, but that's not to imply he lacks his own voice. On Forever You (Stunt, 2004) he demonstrated their same deep respect for melody and the essence of song, but with an economical approach that belied his considerable virtuosity. On Notes from the Heart—the first album ever to feature a single artist paying tribute to Jarrett the composer and the performer—Wakenius turns his attention to interpreting his music. By approaching not only some of Jarrett's more well-known songs, but also material from his solo piano improvisations, Wakenius proves Jarrett's statement that the real time compositional nature of improvisation is more than self-justification for abandoning conventional writing.

Restricting himself to classical guitar, Wakenius mines a cross-section of material from many stages of Jarrett's career, from the delicately melancholic and Latin-informed "Everything That Lives Laments, from The Mourning of a Star (Atlantic, 1971) to the more ostinato-based, groove-centric title track from The Cure (ECM, 1991). Jarrett's European Quartet is represented by the gently balladic "Innocence from Nude Ants (ECM, 1980), the vulnerable beauty of the title track to My Song (ECM, 1977), and the more up-tempo folksy complexity of "The Windup, from Belonging (ECM, 1974).

The American Quartet is represented here, as is the Standards Trio. Throughout, Wakenius—often layering his linear lines over an overdubbed rhythm guitar track—is sensitively accompanied by two long-time associates: bassist Lars Danielsson, who also adds occasional piano and cello, and drummer Morten Lund.

But the most compelling pieces—and the best evidence of Jarrett's compositional sensibility in any context—are those fashioned from his solo piano works. "Memories of Tomorrow, better known as "Köln II C from The Köln Concert (ECM, 1975), is an elegant bossa, while "Mon Couer Est Rouge, from Concerts (ECM, 1981) is a profoundly touching duet with Danielsson on piano.

Throughout, Wakenius' evocative playing—at times exploring the meaning of a single note, elsewhere more elaborately fashioned phrases—digs deep into Jarrett's material, dispensing with all artifice and getting right to the core. Notes from the Heart is aptly titled. Wakenius pays reverent homage to Jarrett in the best way possible—by demonstrating Jarrett's unequivocal influence and fully subsuming it in his own pure and unaffected musical approach. Simply beautiful.

Track Listing: Memories of Tomorrow; Dancing; Innocence; The Windup; My Song; Mon Coeur Est Rouge; Everything That Lives Laments; The Cure; So Tender; U-Dance; Prayer.

Personnel: Ulf Wakenius: acoustic guitars; Lars Danielsson: double-bass, cello, piano; Morten Lund: drums.

Title: Notes from the Heart | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019