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Mathias Landaeus: Path

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Mathias Landaeus: Path
Pianist Mathias Landæus has been a notable presence in Swedish jazz for some time, with his debut leader release, Blåbete (Amigo Records) dating back to 1996. At times he displays rather adventurous tendencies, revealed keenly in a freewheeling trio with saxophonist Oliver Lake and drummer Kresten Osgood on 2023's Spirit (SFÄR), but he also possesses a winsome melodicism. It is the latter aspect that comes to the fore on Path, a winning effort with some of Landæus' regular partners, tenor saxophonist Karl-Martin Almqvist, bassist Johnny Åman, and drummer Cornelia Nilsson, along with the distinctive contributions of trumpeter Tim Hagans.

The album leads off with one of its highlights, "Body: A Tree Merging with Itself," the first portion of a three-part suite that forms the heart of the album. Hagans and Almqvist articulate the piece's gorgeous, hymn-like theme as an air of reflective calm prevails, enhanced by a lyrical solo from Åman that ushers the track into a gentle groove, one that Landæus and Hagans explore with jaunty solos. The remainder of the suite, "Mind: Saved by Imagination" and "Spirit: Waving Flags in the Mist" is almost as strong: "Mind" ventures into more conventional hard-bop territory while "Spirit" returns to the plaintive feel of the opener with another wistful theme, this time with Nilsson getting some space for a solo of her own alongside Hagans and Almqvist.

"Reminder" is another pensive piece, its graceful theme making good use of the two horns' harmonic possibilities. "Free Mess," the only track not composed by Landæus, is a Hagans offering, albeit very consistent with the restrained temperament of the album as a whole. It does provide a looser pulse, however, and a heavy reliance on space in the music, to give the quintet a chance to roam the piece's contours with a good deal of latitude. The album's closer, "Korall," ends the recording in the spirit with which it began: a quiet reverie, putting the emphasis once again on lyrical subtlety rather than flashy extravagance. While it may not get one's heart pumping, its more delicate charms will surely provide a valuable moment's respite for listeners in the mood for something more contemplative.

Track Listing

Body: A Tree Merging with Itself; Reminder; Mind: Saved by Imagination; Free Mess; Spirit: Waving Flags in the Mist; Korall.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Path | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: SFÄR


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