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Word apparently hasn’t reached Sweden that the big bands are dead, as you’ll seldom hear livelier or more colorful music than on Paradise Lost, written and arranged by young lion Magnus Lindgren and expertly performed by the fabulous Swedish Radio Jazz Group for an understandably appreciative audience at Stockholm’s Jazzclub Fasching. Lindgren, who’s not yet thirty, must be a quick study; his songs and arrangements are consistently breathtaking, embodying the sort of depth and ingenuity that one usually associates with far more seasoned craftsmen. Lindgren wrote all the charts and every song but one, tenor saxophonist Karl–Martin Almqvist’s “Mourning Dove,” a tribute to the memory of trumpeter Anders Garstedt who died of cancer in April 200 at age thirty–one. Lindgren also solos, on tenor sax and flute, but leaves ample room for those in the SRJG to brandish their chops, which they do with great alacrity. The concert opens, appropriately enough, with the muscular title selection, featuring alto saxophonist Per Johansson with Lindgren on flute. The percussive “Desert Room,” which follows, again places Lindgren’s flute in front of brass and reeds, leading to forceful statements by pianist Daniel Karlsson and tenor Jonas Kullhammar and fiery exchanges between drummer Jonas Holgersson and percussionist Alfredo Chacon. Lindgren’s smooth, expressive tenor is featured with Matthias Algotsson’s piano on the lovely ballad “Red House,” and with bassist Fredrik Jonsson, trombonist Peter Dahlgren and baritone Alberto Pinton on the deeply grooved “Rocklunda.” Almqvist’s “Mourning Dove” (on which he frames a wonderful solo) is followed by the charming waltz “Buho” (Spanish for “night owl”), on which Lindgren’s clarinet states the melody and he, pianist Algotsson and trumpeter Peter Asplund are the soloists. The buoyant “Fågel Blå,” with snappy ad–libs by Asplund, alto Johan Hörlén, Lindgren on tenor, Karlsson on Fender Rhodes and drummer Holgersson, is based on the changes to “Bye Bye Blackbird,” whose well–known melody peeks through from time to time. Trumpeter Magnus Broo is showcased on another ballad, “The River,” before Lindgren and the ensemble exit swinging with “One for Bob,” a variation on George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” that parallels the compositional style of one of the young Swede’s mentors, American saxophonist Bob Mintzer. Lindgren’s tenor introduces a heated eight–bar “chase” that features tenor Almqvist, altos Johansson and Hörlén, tenor Kullhammar and baritone Pinton, in that order. After some meticulous blowing by brass and reeds, pianist Algotsson and drummer Holgersson grab the wheel and steer the vessel safely into port. And after hearing the concert, my thoughts were the same as those conveyed by Lindgren in his thank–you note: “Let’s do it again as soon as possible!”
Contact: STIM / Svensk Musik (Swedish Music Center), Box 27327, SE–102 54, Stockholm, Sweden. Phone +46 8 783 88 00. E–mail email@example.com; web site, www.mic.stim.se
Track Listing: Paradise Open; Desert Room; Red House; Rocklunda; Mourning Dove; Buho; F
Personnel: Magnus Lindgren, tenor sax, flute, clarinet, music director, composer, arranger; Patrik Skogh, Magnus Thorell, Magnus Broo, Peter Asplund, trumpet, flugelhorn; Magnus Svedberg, Karin Hammar, Peter Dahlgren, Mattis Cederberg, trombone; Johan H