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Lars Jansson, Ark Ovrutski, Pablo Held and More

Read "Lars Jansson, Ark Ovrutski,  Pablo Held and More" reviewed by Bob Osborne

A focus on Swedish pianist Lars Jansson is complemented with new releases from Ark Ovrutski, Pablo Held and Perry Smith. In a piano trio dominated show there is also a mix of classic recordings and exciting new cutting edge jazz. Playlist Ark Ovrutski “Second Line" from Journey Moments (Ark Ovrutski Music) 00:00 Lars Jansson Trio “The Masquerade Is Over" from What's New (Spice of Life) 05:22 Pablo Held Trio “Birkenhain" from Investigations (Edition) 12:53 Perry Smith “Rise ...

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Lars Jansson: Just This

Read "Just This" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Swedish pianist/composer Lars Jansson is a Zen Buddhist, concerned primarily with being in the moment. There can be difficulties--"To experience and accept all that happens in our lives is no easy matter," says Jansson. “It takes practice and an open mind (beginner's mind) to ignore expectations and preconceived attitudes and completely immerse oneself in the present as it unfolds." There are two songs on Just This that deal with this problem: the title track and “No Purpose." ...

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Lars Jansson: Satori

Read "Satori" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Satori means “sudden enlightenment" in the Japanese Buddhist discipline known as Zen. It's something you might be wise not to claim you had experienced for fear of the head priest fetching you a whack across the shoulders with his wooden staff while shouting something deep and meaningful such as “The pine tree in the courtyard!" Once expressed, the term Satori becomes rational and meaningless. In the same way, the word Zen itself can mean all manner of ...

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Lars Jansson Trio: Koan

Read "Koan" reviewed by Chris Mosey

A koan is a Zen Buddhist riddle that cannot be solved by the intellect alone. The best known, portrayed on the cover of Lars Jansson Trio's Koan, is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?" The koan has been described as a form of spiritual dynamite that can propel the mind into satori, or “spiritual equilibrium." Swedish pianist Jansson sees his music as “a kind of koan." He says, “You can of course analyze music in ...

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Lars Jansson Trio: Koan

Read "Koan" reviewed by James Pearse

The second Lars Jansson Trio recording of 2012, after the outing with Ensemble MidtVest on Worship Of Self (Prophone, 2012), is a deep and reflective one. Koan not only remembers the victims of the 2011 tsunami, but also pays homage to the people of Japan and their unique culture.Lars Jansson Trio is something of a permanent fixture on the contemporary Swedish jazz scene. Past members have included bassist Anders Jormin (later replaced by Lars Danielsson and Christian Spering), ...

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Lars Jansson Trio with Ensemble MidtVest: Worship Of Self

Read "Worship Of Self" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Pianist Lars Jansson's music is beyond category. Its roots are in jazz but, especially on Worship Of Self, it also embraces the Western classical tradition, bringing to mind the genius of Leonard Bernstein. Jansson hails from Sweden's second city, Gothenburg, but frequently visits Japan with his trio and is a self-proclaimed Zen Buddhist, and his meditative compositions reflect this. In his sleeve notes, Jansson says they are “built on melodic, tonal and atonal language," and quotes American ...

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Lars Jansson Trio: In Search of Lost Time

Read "In Search of Lost Time" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Pianist Lars Jansson recently cleared out the music room of his home in Gothenburg, on Sweden's west coast, and in the process, found some old songs he'd written but forgotten. Inspired by Marcel Proust's epic novel, A la recherche du temps perdu, he put them together with some new ones to create an album that sheds new and often surprising light on the familiar territory of piano jazz. Jansson is a Zen Buddhist, which accounts for most ...

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Lars Jansson/Bohusl: Temenos

Read "Temenos" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Lars Jansson is what one would call the complete package: a marvelous composer, resourceful arranger and masterful pianist, comfortable in any framework from trio to large ensemble, as he is on this scintillating new release by Sweden's world-class Bohuslän Big Band.

This is Jansson's third recording with the triple-B, and as on the others ( The Blue Pearl; One Poem, One Painting ) he has written and arranged every number, none of which is less than persuasive. As I noted ...

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The Lars Jansson Trio: Witnessing

Read "Witnessing" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Good as this Swedish trio is -- and trust me, it’s very good -- it is pianist Lars Jansson’s exceptional talents as composer / arranger that raise it well above the ordinary. Every song on the album is Jansson’s, and had he misfired, the enterprise could have fallen flat on its face; instead it soars on the wings of his consistently fresh and invigorating melodies. He then ices the cake with thoroughly captivating improvisations, leavening every song with ample measures ...

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Lars Jansson: Ballads

Read "Ballads" reviewed by Jack Bowers

This is basically a trio album, but not completely; comprised of ballads by Swedish piano master Lars Jansson, but not completely. Songs like “The Tree,” “To the Mothers in Brazil” and “Something To Eat” may be ballads in the broadest sense of the word but their brisker tempos belie the image. And the trio becomes a quartet on occasion, then a sextet as horns are added on half a dozen numbers. “Something to Eat” is the only composition that’s not ...

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Lars Jansson: Giving Receiving

Read "Giving Receiving" reviewed by Jack Bowers

In searching for a word or phrase that best describes this album by Swedish pianist Lars Jansson’s sextet, the best I can come up with is “smooth Jazz with a touch of class.” What I mean is that even though the greater part of what is performed on Giving Receiving would not be in the least out of place on so–called “smooth Jazz” radio, these guys can really play! And Jansson’s compositions and charts, while in most cases smooth as ...


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