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Ake Persson: The Great

Jack Bowers By

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For more than two decades Åke Persson was widely recognized as Europe's foremost Jazz trombonist, and indeed one of the world's leading players. Persson's remarkable career ended in February 1975 when the 43'year'old musician took his own life. These historic sessions document Persson's early years (1951'57), before he became a member of the Harry Arnold or Clarke'Boland Big Bands or sat in for various periods of time with ensembles led by Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and others. The musicians on these early sessions are European, with two notable exceptions ' trombonists Rosolino and Burgess ' who appear on the first version of 'Monotones' and the standard 'Don't Blame Me.' Although known as 'the Comet from H'ssleholm' (his hometown), Persson lacked the biting attack and prodigious technique of a Rosolino, employing instead a softer and more urbane approach that nevertheless served its purpose well. But Persson's technique wasn't wanting; he had more than enough to accomplish any task. Persson does nothing here to abridge his towering stature ' he seems quite at ease alongside the more celebrated American duo, Rosolino and Burgess ' and on the last four tracks he becomes, in an early example of overdubbing, an entire trombone section ' and quite a good one, we should say. Of enormous interest to this listener were the two tracks from January '57 ('Besame Mucho,' Al Cohn's ''T Ain't No Use') with the legendary Swedish baritone master Lars Gullin, on which sound quality makes an abrupt turn for the better (most selections impart the dense, heavily muffled sound of early''50s, pre'stereo recordings). But sound isn't the issue here; these rare glimpses into the early career of one of Jazz's most prominent mainstream trombonists would be of great significance had they been recorded on an Edison cylinder. Recommended to those who appreciate uncommon talent when they hear it.

Track Listing: 1. Forever Stone, 2. Melancholy, 3. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, 4. Monotones, 5. Don?'t Blame Me, 6. My Blue Heaven, 7. Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, 8. It Might As Well Be Spring, 9. Hershey Bar, 10. Penta, 11. Stella By Starlight, 12. Spring Is Here, 13. ?'T Ain?'t No Use, 14. Besame Mucho, 15. Nassie Goreng, 16. Just Lonely, 17. Mountain Music, 18. Monotones

Title: The Great | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Four Leaf Clover Records


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