The acclaimed Swedish Bohuslän Big Band (BBB) has collaborated in the last generation with a varied selection of composers and soloists – pianist Lars Jansson, trombonist Nils Landgren, American bass player Steve Swallow, Italian trumpeter Paolo Fresu, folk musician Ale Möller and vocalists Rigmor Gustafsson, and Danish Sinne Eeg, But until recently BBB have not recorded with a young musician-composer that so far has released only one album under her own name and just recently has finished her music studies.
But the BBB did not take unnecessary risks when it decided to put its faith in Swedish sax player Malin Wättring, leader of her own quartet and octet (that released the excellent «Glöd», Havtorn, 2015), member of Anna Högberg Attack!, who has played before with other big bands – Mats Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra, Landgren’s Jazz Baltica All Star Big Band, Ann-Sofi Söderqvist Jazz Orchestra and Euroradio Jazz Orchestra. Wättring first meeting with the BBB happened about twenty years ago, when her father Anders Wättring played with the BBB the music of Ray Charles . It was a decisive moment in her musical life. The ten- years-old Wättring decided to switch instruments from violin to saxophone.
In 2015 Wättring participated in BBB «Up & Coming» project and played with BBB one of her compositions. The immediate chemistry led to a collaborative work of Wättring and her quartet with the BBB, and after Wättring finished the composing, arranging and conducting process the quartet and BBB played two concerts in October 2016 and decided to record «Harvest» on 2017.
Wättring chose this title «Harvest» as it symbolizes the natural process of growing until the joyful harvest. «It’s a very similar experience creating music; music needs love, care, light and time. Sometimes hard work. But there will come a time for harvesting, a time for enjoyment». This description captures the essence of her compositions – nuanced textures that blossom in their own time, only after developing strong melodic roots and broad harmonic horizons, with no rush to reach ecstatic, fleeting climaxes. Her compositions often sound at first as reserved and emotionally fragile but soon develop with clear, powerful ideas, without losing its emotional impact.
But more than that. Wättring is a clever composer, arranger and conductor who knows how to use the big band as colorful, multi-layered canvas, referencing Nordic jazz but stressing her own personal voice. The opening «Melankolia» sound at first as extending Jan Garbarek lyrical folk songs with its simple, infectious theme, but despite its title develops as an optimist, playful composition that introduces the orchestral voices of the BBB and Wättring quartet. On «Magnolia» Wättring employs the expanded BBB to sketch colorful sonic contrasts and different strategies of tension building as part of complex story. «Harvest» highlights the strong, driving interplay of Wättring quartet – especially between pianist Naoko Sakata and drummer Anna Lund and Wättring. «A long way from home» revolves gently around the lyrical, touching theme that Sakata develops with the trumpets, woodwinds and trombones sections of the BBB. «Music for spies and secret agents» is the only compositions that follows traditional jazz big band pieces, but leaves a lot of space for personal, playful contributions. On the emotional ballad «Ammi», Wättring shows her own interpretation to melancholic Nordic sounds. The last composition, «Suite: l. Song for my father ll. Focus lll. Lines», is a kind of closure – personal, emotional and musical – reliving Wättring first experience with the BBB and its lasting influence on her as a masterful musician, improviser, composer and conductor.
Joakim Rolandson (s), Martin Svanström (s), Lisen Rylander Löve (s), Mikael Karlsson (s), Alberto Pinton (s), Lennart Grahn (tp), Samuel Olsson (tp), Staffan Svensson (tp), Jan Eliasson (tp), Kristoffer Siggstedt (trumpet), Niclas Rydh (tb), Christer Olofsson (tb), Hanne Småvik (tb), Malin Wättring 4: Anna Lund (dr), Donovan von Martens (b), Naoko Sakata (p), Malin Wättring (ss, ts, comp, arr, cond)