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SPJÄRNSVALLET

«Again And again»
COUNTRY & EASTERN

This albums does justice to a Swedish quartet who released only one self-titled classic album that explored and blend many musical traditions from around the globe. The Spjärnsvallet quartet was formed in the early seventies when percussionist Bengt Berger (the founder and director of Country & Eastern label), who had studied music in India and was on his way to Ghana, met multi-instrumentalist Christer Bothén, who had learned in Mali and was on his way to Morocco for a long collaboration with Don Cherry. The two were joined by the late, genius multi-instrumentalist Kjell Westling (who died in 2010) and bassist Nikke Ström and in 1975 released its only album.

«Again And Again» collects some of the material that was not released or was shortened for the LP format and feature a remastered versions of these pieces. The spirit of Cherry and his influence are clear but surprisingly this quartet sound as an early version of Cherry’s seminal Codona (with multi instrumentalist Collin Walcott and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos). The quartet organically blends South-Indian musical tradition with West-African traditions, with a strong sense of Ornette Coleman’s Harmolodics method of free improvisation. The seven lost pieces from the seventies sessions of the quartet shine with vibrant joy and innocence, played with an intense rhythmic drive and urgency, still sound fresh and relevant for a new age that consumes these glorious traditions in a synthesized world-music arrangements.

The last piece, «Again» feature the three surviving members – Bothén, Ström and Berger, improvising on few themes that the quartet played forty years ago. The trio also references Cherry’s «Desireless» (taken from the «Relativity Suite» with the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, released on 1973). Even today, the Spjärnsvallet trio proves its telepathic, rhythmic interplay and its poetic and the imaginative manner of articulation of ideas, strong and beautiful as it ever was.

Eyal Hareuveni  

Kjell Westling (fl, ballani, bc, sopraninos, as); Christer Bothén (guimbri, donso n’goni, ballani, bc, ts, p); Nikke Ström (b); Bengt Berger (dr, mridangam, calebash)