"A wonderful CD with an introverted and warm atmosphere that makes you instinctively move to a sultry summer evening on a rooftop in Granada for example, with a glass of Rioja at hand."Rootstime, 01-11-2017
The “Sound of Europe”, captured and documented on CD and vinyl. For ACT, promoting jazz with a strong bias towards specific countries and regions of Europe has always been an important part of the mission. Whereas Wolfgang Haffner’s album “Kind of Cool” made excursions into 50s cool jazz and bop, he now immerses himself in the music of the Iberian peninsula. Traditional Spanish music meets jazz. A cultural heritage which is more than 500 years old encounters the blue notes of the New World; flamenco and folklore meet new compositions by the bandleader. The vibe created by this sextet is introvert, warm and atmospheric, and the listener’s mind might easily drift off… to a roof terrace somewhere in Granada by night, perhaps.
Vibes player Christopher Dell, like pianist Jan Lundgren, was also on the album “Kind of Cool”. He gives this work a particularly individual coloration. Lars Danielsson has been a key player in Haffner’s team right from the start - their close musical relationship goes back many years. The same is also true for Sebastian Studnitzky who contributes his soft, velvety trumpet sound. And then there is the youngest member of this team: guitarist Daniel Stelter. “That melody is so strong that the softer you play it, the stronger it gets”, said Miles Davis of Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez”, which he recorded for his 1960 album “Sketches of Spain”. Here Daniel Stelter plays the unforgettable tune – very much in the idiom of the trumpet legend. He demonstrates tremendous concentration and also tenderness.
“Space in music is essential to me”, says Haffner. “Just a few notes, played in ballad tempo, that really appeals to me”. Understatement is the order of the day on “Kind of Spain”, with no one adding a note more than is necessary, and a bandleader whose drumming never has a scintilla of attentionseeking about it. “I like strong melodies and beautiful harmonies”, Haffner emphasizes. “The very last thing I think about is how I am going to accompany the songs on the drums.” Both “Tàpies” and “Salinas”, composed in Haffner’s adoptive home, Ibiza, show evidence of his elegant restraint. The traditional Andalusian 16th century piece “El Vito”, and Lars Danielsson’s exciting “Pasodoble”, which is reminiscent of Spanish folk dance, are both invigorating popular songs. On these tracks Dell and Lundgren both shine with fine solos. So who knew? Spanish music... played by German and Swedish jazz musicians. Who would have guessed that so much Mediterranean passion and sensitivity can exist north of the Alps? And the answer is: everyone who knows Wolfgang Haffner.
Swedish bassist, cellist, composer and arranger Lars Danielsson is well-know and admired throughout the International jazz scene for his lyrical playing and strong groove. Born in 1958, he is a musician with particularly broad interests. At the conservatory in Gothenburg he had studied classical cello, before changing to bass and to jazz. As a bassist he has a uniquely rounded sound, which is as lyrical as powerful.
The "Lars Danielsson Quartet" with former Miles Davis saxophonist David Liebman, pianist Bobo Stenson and legendary ECM drummer Jon Christensen has received a lot of recognition and numerous awards during the 18 years of its existence. Danielsson has released ten solo-albums since 1980 with his quartet and guests such as Alex Acuña and John Abercrombie. The Quartet has been a testing ground for Danielsson’s work as a composer and arranger, which has extended over the last years to include both - symphony orchestra and big band music. He has worked with Denmark’s Radio Concert Orchestra as well as the JazzBaltica Ensemble as a composer, arranger and producer.
Lars Danielsson has worked with: Randy and Michael Brecker, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Mike Stern, Billy Hart, Charles Lloyd, Terri Lyne Carrington and Dave Kikoski. He has also been a member of the "Trilok Gurtu Group".
As a producer, Lars Danielsson worked with Cæcilie Norby, Jonas Johansen, the Danish Radio Concert Orchestra and Viktoria Tolstoy.
In 2007, he received a commission for a piece with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestrafeaturing himself as a soloist together with Leszek Moždžer. He has also received a commission from the NDR Big Band and Wolfgang Haffner to write a piece for the JazzBaltica Festival 2007. Furthermore, he has been working with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with Vytas Sondeckis and Bugge Wesseltoft.
His 2008 album “Pasodoble” was a huge success. Jazzwise UK wrote about Danielsson’s collaboration with Polish pianist Leszek Moždžer: “A clarity of thought and execution rarely encountered in jazz.”
“Pasodoble” was followed by another collaboration with Leszek Moždžer on the 2009 album “Tarantella”. Once more the album caused enthusiastic reactions by Jazzwise: “Easily Danielsson’s finest album to date, it also numbers among the finest albums in the ACT catalogue.”
On his most recent album “Liberetto”, Lars Daniellson teams up with Armenian piano shooting Star “Tigran”, e.s.t. drummer Magnus Öström guitarist John Paricelli and Trumpeter Arve Henriksen to discovers new musical spaces and the freedom of music between chamber jazz, classic and European folk music.
In his youth, Jan Lundgren was often seen as one of the greatest talents in tennis since Björn Borg. Thankfully, he has since changed allegiances.
Lundgren, born in Kristianstad in southern Sweden on March 22nd 1966, and raised in Ronneby, Blekinge, had his first piano lessons at age five. He was soon discovered to have an exceptional musical talent. After a long period of classical training, he discovered jazz more or less by chance in the late 1980’s. He was instantly hooked, rapidly absorbed the jazz piano tradition from Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner to Bud Powell and Bill Evans, and acquired a depth of knowledge of the Great American Songbook like possibly no other European jazz pianist.
While sailing through his studies at the renowned Royal College of Music in Malmö (where he was purportedly accepted on the condition that he occupies the piano chair in the legendary « Monday Night Big Band ») he also took up a busy schedule as a professional musician that quickly helped to build his reputation in Sweden. Discovered by Swedish bebop legend Arne Domnérus, he frequently played with other Swedish stars like Putte Wickman and Bernt Rosengren.
Lundgren’s debut album “Conclusion” was released in 1994, and propelled his career firmly forward. The following year saw the formation of the Jan Lundgren Trio with long time student associates Mattias Svensson (bass) and Rasmus Kihlberg (drums), who was replaced in the beginning of the year 2000 by the Dane Morten Lund. This steady band recorded seven well-received and commercially very successful albums for the Swedish label “Sittel” in the period up to 2003. The album “Swedish Standards”, released in 1997 even became a bestseller and reached a place in the Swedish pop charts. But the album “Landscapes” (2003) sold comparably and both releases soon became classics due to their linking Swedish folk music and jazz. The band’s intense tour schedule founds a temporary peak in a concert at Carnegie Hall as part of “Swedish Jazz salutes the USA”.
As a sideman, Lundgren has accompanied such greats as Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Herb Geller, James Moody, Pete Jolly or singer Stacey Kent. He has also shared the stage with ACT-artist Ulf Wakenius a number of times.
Jan Lundgren has been awarded a number of prizes since the early 90’s: In 1997 “Swedish Standards” became “best jazz album of the year”. He was nominated for the “Swedish Grammy” in 1995, 1997 and 2008 and the “Swedish Django d’Or Prize” in 1998, 2001 and 2002.
Having visited a long list of European territories and venues, Lundgren has also been on extended tours of Australia and Japan. He has visited the USA about 15 times and recorded some well-received albums for the label “Fresh Sound” (with, among others, pianist Lou Levy and trombonist Andy Martin).
In 2006 Lundgren becomes part of the ACT family: Initially he was featured as a sideman on the Ida Sand album Meet Me Around Midnight (ACT 9716-2). In July 2007 he released his first ACT album Fresu – Galliano – Lundgren: Mare Nostrum (ACT 9466-2), followed by Magnum Mysterium (ACT 9457-2), which will be released in November of 2007.
In 2008 Lundgren could reap the fruits of his labour, and his Mare Nostrum was performed in front of sold out houses on prestigious stages throughout Europe (Salle Gaveau – Paris, Tonhalle – Zurich, Victoria Hall – Geneva, Teatro Dante Aligheri – Ravenna, S. Caecilia – Rome …) as well as at Jazz Baltica, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Istanbul Jazz Festival. There are many good reasons why the band has been called “the first European super group”.
In the same year Lundgren was honoured with the Swedish Django d’Or, and began a collaboration with the classical trumpet player Hǻkan Hardenberger and the Swedish writer Jacques Werup – an exiting melange of modern classical and free music, of jazz and compositions of Jan Lundgren.
Lundgren also brought the Jan Lundgrun trio back to life in 2008, albeit with a new drummer, Zoltan Csörsz Jr. who proved to be a truly lucky catch for the trio. A new repertoire has resulted in the new ACT album European Standards (ACT 9482-2) which will be released in Mai 2009 together with the re-release of Swedish Standards (ACT 9022-2) from the ACT Jazz Classics series.
Jan Lundgren is part of a remarkable and long tradition of innovative pianists from Sweden like Jan Johansson who passed away early, and in more recent times Bobo Stenson and Esbjörn Svensson. Lundgren has never made life easy for himself, and has always tried to utilize his phenomenal technique to enhance his musicality. His ability to integrate the most disparate musical influences into a fascinating whole is unique in itself. Whether its contemporary classical music, the inexhaustible northern folk tradition or the pulsating groove of jazz, deeply rooted in Afro-American music: Lundgren has a unique way of leading the listener on a voyage of discovery – sometimes relaxed, sometimes utterly invigorating - through his highly individual soundscapes.
A wonderful CD with an introverted and warm atmosphere that makes you instinctively move to a sultry summer evening on a rooftop in Granada for example, with a glass of Rioja at hand.