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Swedish bassist and composer Anders Jormin has been recording since the mid 1980s, playing with greats such as his countryman Bobo Stenson, American saxophonist Charles Lloyd and Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko among others. Since his debut as a leader for ECM in 2001, he has kept close to the label. But the concept on Poems for Orchestra marches to somewhat of a different tune and that it is being released on the Scandinavian label Losen Records seems appropriate, considering the large amount of Swedish and Danish folklore these songs and poems are steeped in.
Contrary to what one might expect when looking at the large cast of musicians involved, Poems for Orchestra is not at all a work of overblown proportions. There are plenty of arrangements here that confine themselves to simply, and elegantly, framing Lena Willenmark's crystal clear voice, often even reducing the orchestra to a core quartet joined by sparse ornamentation from the sidelines.
Most of the poems stem are by Sören Ulrik Thomsen and largely deal with nature in harmonious way. Others are written by Lena Willemark and Jormin himself. A calmness and sense of serenity characterises the proceedings.
While Jormin's compositions and swinging basslineswhich are foregrounded in Lars Nilsson's mixing and masteringundoubtedly lead the party, the bassist always shows consideration for the bigger picture. Vigorous solos by reed players Joakim Rolandson and Ove Ingermarsson and trumpeter Staffan Svensson are impressive. Jormin was right to give these players elbow room.
Poems for Orchestra is an intimate landscape that envelopes the listener and begs to be explored. It seems to pass by in a moment, but leaves a lasting memory.
Track Listing: Ogadh dett; En gång skall du; Dikten jag alltid drömt om att skriva; Synsk poet; Ödertorp; Krattskogslada; Hirajoshi; Not;
Oktoberhavet; Utmarksäng; Kronohemman; Dröm; Måsekär; Frystation.
Personnel: Anders Jormin: composer, double bass; Lena Willemark: vocal, violin; Karin Nakagawa: Koto; Bohuslän Bigband: reeds, trumpets,
flugelhorns, trombones; Stefan Wingefors: piano; Yasuhito Mori: bass; Göran Kroon: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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