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Drummer Sven-Ake Johansson proclaims, “The compositions and improvisations in my quintet represent, stylistically speaking, a period of free jazz, which may, at first sight, recall the Sixties. On Six Little Pieces For Quintet, the drummer, armed with his 60’s Slingerland kit, shoots for the stars with these invigorating pieces along with band-mates who counteract the leader’s throbbing pulse, sweeping press rolls and gyrating rhythms via simply stated choruses and fierce soloing.
Johansson and co. admirably seize the spirit of those entrepreneurial days of freewheeling inventiveness on pieces such as “Medium, Freies Tempo” and Medium Ruhig (bom-zeke-bom). Here and throughout, the drummer’s swirling flow spearheads a magnetic outing marked by pianist Sten Sandell’s multipurpose rhythmic attack, well-placed accents and staggered block chords along with Matthias Bauer’s booming bass lines. Trumpeter Axel Dorner and bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall often engage in abbreviated interplay amid intersecting themes, converging solos and circular movements. A true multitasking unit, the band possesses a jubilant sense of exploration to coincide with ominous intentions which is also evident on “Schnelle Triolen” where Mahall injects casual yet at times whimsical statements that offset the busy and altogether expansive backdrops.
Overall, the musicians proceed with verve and forthright urgency as the sustained intensity level elevates the band’s depiction of the dynamic. - An attribute that is consummated by the soloists melodramatic approach to the drummer’s sizzling compositions and deeply personalized yet amiable spin on 60’s style modern jazz.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.