5

Cecilia Persson: Open Rein

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Swedish pianist and composer Cecilia Persson is best known for her work in vocalist Lina Nyberg's band and with Paavo the band she leads with vocalist Sofia Jernberg. Open Rein is Persson's debut as a solo artist, featuring a set of impressive originals. The release solidifies her status as a promising composer, improviser and bandleader, already recognized as such by Swedish Radio, who awarded her the Jazzkatten prize as the composer of the year and the Norrbotten Big Band, that invited her to be their composer in residence for 2014. The recording's title alludes to her other great passion besides music, horse-riding, and describes using the reins in a loose fashion to guide the horse in finding balance. This title is an apt description of Persson's music: the piano bench as a saddle, from where she directs the music, keeping it balanced, loose and flowing.

Persson employs ten musicians on this album, combined in different formats and on different compositions. All her songs emphasize the careful, collaborative ensemble work where improvised parts expand composed ones, adding to Persson's role as a thoughtful, resourceful composer and arranger of European jazz. She wisely structures multi-layered textures featuring the strong individual voices of her core quartet—vibes player Mattias Ståhl, double bassist Nils Ölmedal and drummer Peter Nilsson, as well as the voices of additional musicians.

All the compositions are interconnected with repetitive ideas and themes. The opening one, "Amble Sinfonia," simply introduces the fleeting, nuanced voices and the colors of the ten muscians. The second, "Conlon," stresses Persson's qualities as the composer of a lyrical chamber piece with her patient, delicate interplay featuring clarinetist Per 'Texas' Johansson and Ståhl. The driving "Norrtullsligan" and "Halvhalt" revolve around strong themes articulated beautifully by the charismatic Johansson, now on tenor sax, and repeated by the powerful rhythm section of Persson, Ståhl, Ölmedal and Nilsson. Ståhl and Persson's playful, courting interplay form the backbone of "Serpentine" while the slow, chamber title pieces highlight gentle interplay between Johansson and trumpeter Eivind Lønning. The minimalist "Rozano" is the most experimental track here, alternating between lightly composed piano and the improvised sonic explorations of her core quartet.

The last three, continuous compositions feature nine musicians and are the most impressive on the album. "Amble Rondo" highlights the talkative clarinet duet of Fredrik Ljungkvist and Thomas Backman, echoed beautifully by Lønning and Ståhl while the rhythm section of Persson, Ölmedal and Nilsson methodically solidify tight and massive rhythms until these parallel interactions melt into a chaotic coda. The chamber piece "Amble Menuet" again plays with the delicate, dance- like interplay of Ljungkvist and Backman, still on clarinets, augmented now with Lønning, then expanded gently by the ensemble. "Amble Finale" concludes this fine, highly enjoyable ride with tight, balanced and powerful playing, coupled with a hidden piece featuring the same excellent group in a beautiful, emotional dance of love.

Track Listing: Amble Sinfonia; Conlon; Norrtullsligan; Serpentine; Open Rein; Halvhalt; Rozano; Amble Rondo; Amble Menuet; Amble Finale.

Personnel: Cecilia Persson: piano; Per ‘Texas’ Johansson: clarinet and tenor saxophone (1-7); Leo Svensson: cello (1, 3-10); Mattias Ståhl: vibraphone; Nils Ölmedal: double bass; Peter Nilsson: drums; Eivind Lønning: trumpet (1,3,5,8-10); Thomas Backman: clarinet, bass clarinet (1. 8-10); Fredrik Ljungkvist: clarinet, tenor saxophone (1, 8-10); Olof Wendel: marimba (1, 8-10).

Title: Open Rein | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Hoob Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Evolution - Seeds and Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution - Seeds and Streams
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Hakos Trios" CD/LP/Track Review Hakos Trios
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)" CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Gateway" CD/LP/Track Review Gateway
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Twin" CD/LP/Track Review Twin
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: April 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.