«Terrestrial» is the final part of Swedish vocalist-composer Lina Nyberg impressive trilogy of double-albums featuring songs and compositions about humanity, the world and music itself. The first part of the trilogy, «The Sirenades» (2014), presented Nyberg band – pianist Cecilia Persson, guitarist David Stackenäs, bass player Josef Kallerdahl and drummer Peter Danemo, playing with the Norrbotten Big Band and alone; the second part, «Aerials» (2016), offered a collaboration of Byberg band with the Vindla String Quartet. «Terrestrial» first album, «Nature», is a collaboration of Nyberg band with NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra, recorded live at NorrlandsOperan in Umeå on May 2017, and the second one, «Human», features Nyberg band, recorded live at Studio Epidemin in Göteborg on May 2017.
This ambitious trilogy not only stresses Nyberg skills as an imaginative, masterful lyricist-composer-arranger but also highlights her open and diverse vision of jazz music and its legacy, on both sides of the Atlantic. Nyberg musical universe is inspired by the rich legacy of jazz but crisscrossing to other worlds and addressing real-time worldly issues. Obviously, «Nature» and its songs, «The Planet» and «Gravity», with their dramatic symphonic arrangements, embodies Nyberg compassionate perspective about our fragile Earth, «plagued by war and disorder», as she sings on «Terrestrial III (Oh Humanity)».
But Nyberg most moving, troubling song here, as well as «Human», is «Another world». Nyberg arranges beautifully the words of Indian author Arundhati Roy, taken from her collection of essays «War Talk» (2003): «Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.» Roy suggested in that book that we should use our own stories, art, music and literature to «confront empire» Nyberg, in her own special way, does exactly that. With her arresting delivery, moving, poetic songs and exquisite orchestral arrangements tempts us to listen very carefully. Then, letting our joy guide us to act better, more humanly, even adopt an inclusive feminist approach.
«Human» is more reflective and intimate, still, enabling Nyberg band a enough space to improvise. Guitarist Stackenäs enjoys this freedom fully, especially on «Ingrid» – Nyberg’s homage to actress Ingrid Bergman, performed originally on her «Palaver» (Moserobie, 2011), charging this song with a spectacular solo. The covers of the now-classic «Lazy Afternoon» and João Gilberto’s «Undiú» and Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes «Canto de Ossanha» are performed with such natural, playful manner, that you may be convinced that these songs were written by Nyberg herself. She arranges the famous poem of English poet Siegfried Sassoon «Everyone Sang» as an uplifting, rhythmic song that highlights the joy of leaving the horrors of wars behind. The last song, an intimate, chamber arrangement of «Another world», with Nyberg emotional delivery of Roy plea, sound now as a as a secular, most relevant prayer.
Such beauty is a rare thing.
Lina Nyberg (v), Cecilia Persson (p), David Stackenäs (g), Josef Kallerdahl (b), Peter Danemo (dr), The NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing.