349

Jonas Kullhammar Quartet/Norrbotten Big Band: Snake City North

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Jonas Kullhammar Quartet/Norrbotten Big Band: Snake City North It's been a while since we've heard from Sweden's intrepid Norrbotten Big Band from up near the Arctic Circle. On that last occasion (Future North, Double-Time, 1998), the NBB was led by American trumpeter Tim Hagans; this time, it is in the company of Swedish tenor saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar's impressive quartet.

The quartet-within-a-band format is a provocative idea that works quite well, as it did a decade earlier for a similar group, The Real Thing, with Sweden's Bohuslän Big Band (A Perfect Match, Real Records, 1994). I can't say whether Kullhammar/Norrbotten borrowed the concept or came up with it independently, but whatever its source, the bottom line is that the quartet and big band are truly en rapport and make the most of every moment together. Kullhammar and his partners are loose and adaptable in the larger setting, while the NBB responds with sharp and passionate blowing at every turn.

Six of the eight luminous charts were written by pianist Torbjörn Gulz. He and Kullhammar collaborated on the playful "Ruskitoonies McAroonies, while the quartet and ensemble put their heads together to construct the rockin' finale, "Bebopalulia (which Elvis wouldn't have recognized). Even though the melodies are unfamiliar, they are strong enough to capture and sustain one's interest, and Kullhammar and the NBB make certain the enticement never wanes.

Although Kullhammar is the featured soloist, Gulz frames a number of incisive comments, as do bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg and drummer Jonas Holgersson, while from the NBB, flugel Dan Johansson shines on "Kärleksvals and "Ruskitoonies, trombonist Peter Dahlgren on "Frippes Blues, alto Håkan Broström on "I Sheriffens Klor. The ensemble is vacuum-sealed, and Kullhammar & Co. comprise an unwavering rhythm section.

If you'd like to know why the album is titled Snake City North and the opening selection "Snake City East, there's no answer in the liner notes (in fact, there are no notes, only a few brief acknowledgments). But the music itself is no mystery, nor is my enthusiastic endorsement.


Track Listing: Snake City East

Personnel: Jonas Kullhammar (ts) Torbj

Title: Snake City North | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Moserobie


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Beauty & Truth" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty & Truth
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Endemic Ensemble: Tangled" CD/LP/Track Review Endemic Ensemble: Tangled
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Cultural Capital" CD/LP/Track Review Cultural Capital
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "Tangled" CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Say So" CD/LP/Track Review Say So
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.