Finnish guitarist Mathias Sandberg has been called "One of Finland's best kept secrets," and one of the "hardest working jazz musicians in the country." Well, that secret is now out as this former leader of Dr. Sandberg's Soul Clinic jazz quartet has morphed and downsized things to a rhythm-based guitar trio, documenting a new session of music on the crisp and perky The Doctor, a title which is often bestowed on him.
The album features a melding of soulful jazz with a measure of hard swing revealing a melodic rhythm-based jazz that's light at times and sports a boppish flair on selected tracks. Joined by bassist Zacharias Holmkvist and drummer Stefan Brokvist, the trio has become a fixture in the Finnish jazz scene, home- based in the historical city of Vaasa, Finland, where this project was recorded.
The Brisk opener, "Too Bad," features Sandberg on a quick-paced performance buoyed by Brokvist's rumblings on the drums. The following "Sunday Nap" tones it down a bit, preferring the mellow side of the electric guitar on a tune inspired by Sandberg's daughter's insistence that daddy take a relaxing nap on Sundays.
The swinging tempo finally comes out on the upbeat minor blues "Brewin,'" penned by the guitarist while attending the Manhattan School of Music in New York. It reveals one of the highlight moments of the set. The other blues-infused piece on the session is "Breakfast Blues," inspired by a collaboration between the great Count Basie and singer Joe Williams in another swinging lyrical piece.
The group turns introspective on the light and somewhat somber "Not Yet," featuring delicate bass lines from Holmkvist, and closes out the set with a warm and beautiful rendition of the classic English lullaby "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. There is little doubt that The Doctor provides an especially entertaining and enjoyable set of light jazz. One might say "it's just what the doctor ordered." Doctor Mathias Sanberg, of course. The perfect musical medication for any occasion, well done!
Too Bad; Sunday Nap; Brewin'; Not Yet; Good Enough (Ain't Good Enough); The Wait Out; Breakfast Blues; Twinkle
Twinkle Little Star.
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