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Good as this Swedish trio is and trust me, it’s very good it is pianist Lars Jansson’s exceptional talents as composer / arranger that raise it well above the ordinary. Every song on the album is Jansson’s, and had he misfired, the enterprise could have fallen flat on its face; instead it soars on the wings of his consistently fresh and invigorating melodies. He then ices the cake with thoroughly captivating improvisations, leavening every song with ample measures of sweetness and charm.
The pianist has an unerring ear for a lovely refrain, and it serves him well from the smiling opener, “Success-Failure,” to the eccentric finale, “Reading Music” which opens and closes with three voices which sound as though they may be doing exactly that in Swedish and everywhere in between. Even though his essays are quite original, Jansson’s “Resting in the Shadow” reveals at least a nodding acquaintance with Frank Loesser’s “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” and “The Wounded Healer Can Heal” includes melodic elements that are vaguely reminiscent of “Didn’t We Almost Make It This Time.”
As for group dynamics, the threesome is as loose and spontaneous as one would envisage during a rehearsal in someone’s den or living room, while never missing a cue or skipping a beat. That comes from experience, something these gentlemen have in abundance, and from playing together, which they have done on many occasions. Thanks to their remarkable prowess, and to Jansson’s uncommon fluency as a writer, they’ve fashioned one of the year’s most admirable trio sessions.