The detective is hunched over the bar, alone in a dark smoky dive by the waterfront. A blond saunters in, backlit through the gloom by the neon beer light.
"Don't you remember me?" she asks.
"Why no," he mumbles, "I've got a metal plate in my head and I drink too much vodka."
In the background "It Ain't Necessarily So" oozes from Fredrick Lindborg's tenor saxophone. Lindborg, Sjostedt & Daniel's Trio Colossus
wails into the night like the backdrop for some boozy black and white film-noir, where hard men in fedoras carry revolvers small enough to fit in their pockets.
Lindborg, Sjostedt & Daniel takes a crack at the challenging reed, bass and drums trio in the tradition of Sonny Rollins
' Way Out West
(Contemporary 1957), or Joe Henderson
's State of the Tenor
(Blue Note 1985). The title, Trio Colossus
, is a nod to Rollins, the original Saxophone Colossus, although the instrumentation differs a little with Lindborg adding baritone saxophone and bass clarinet to his arsenal.
Musically this trio evokes something a little dark, maybe a little ominous, in the same way that a good movie soundtrack creates mood and ambiance. From that perspective the album comes from the tradition of another noir-ish classic, Shelly Manne
and His Men Play Peter Gunn
(Contemporary 1959), the collection of Henry Mancini
tunes written for the short-lived Peter Gunn TV show(another terrific album, by the way). Although much more sparely arranged as a trio,Trio Colossus
carries a tension that suggests something dramatic is about to happen. If the musicians were being chased down a dark alley they'd be playing "Trapped" en route. Even the interpretation of some well-worn standards by George Gershwin
and Duke Ellington
are bent convincingly to fit the atmospheric vibe. The lone exception is "Borja Om Fran Borjan" which is a well-phrased homage to Rollins' "Don't Stop The Carnival." It seems an odd inclusion at first, but it cuts the tension neatly.
The musicians swing and sway with loose, unpretentious solidarity. There are some rough edges, where the drums or the bass wander off a little, but those are likely intentional, and if they're not, well so much the better. They get the most out of the trio, adapting tunes written for much larger ensembles, still making them sound full and satisfying. On Ellington's "Blues In Blueprint" Lindborg tidily translates all of the important elements of the orchestrated melody on his one horn before strolling off into his improvisation.
The reed trio is not a forgiving ensemble. There's really nowhere for anyone to hide, and no comping to cover the holes. The saxophonist has to carry the melodic and most of the improvisational duties himself. But done right it's also one of the most rewarding lineups to listen to, with an excellent performance right out there in full view. Trio Colossus
pulls it off handily and they make it sound good. Now go back to your drinks.