Swedish jazz vocalist-songwriter Anna Lundqvist and pianist-producer Jonas André studied at the Skurups Folkhögskola in Malmö about 20 years ago, where they first played together and immediately solidified unique musical chemistry. In the passing decades, both left Malmö. Lundkvist led her own quintet and recently became active as a musician and lecturer in Lisbon, Portugal, a city she calls her second home. André became a producer, worked with Caprice Records, and he is also an art director, and photographer. But Lundkvist and André still wanted to revive their musical partnership and record a duo album together.
«Reunion» proves that the rare chemistry is still there, the timing is also perfect, and the near-telepathic bond is strong as ever, and over time has both matured and rejuvenated. Lundqvist and André chose a mix of five original compositions, specially written for the album, as well as personal interpretations of some hidden gems from the world of pop and jazz. They describe the result as «some form of ECM-meets-pop and soul», 11 lyrical songs that seep of Nordic melancholy and tells bittersweet stories of love and lust, life, and longing.
Lundkvist knows how to make the songs her own, delivering the poetic texts with reserved but vulnerable intensity, totally identifying herself with the lyrics and the emotional drama, but later on allows herself to inject sparks of mischievous playfulness, as on the original «Moving in Me» and the Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington standard «The Nearness of You». André follows her closely, always attuned to every gesture of her and knows when to emphasize the drama and when to suggest a quieter, sober perspective. The program sketches a broad and surprising spectrum of influences – obviously, jazz vocalist Norma Winstone (her lyrics to Mexican romantic composer Armando Manzanero’s «Just Sometimes», and «For Jan», to the music of trumpeter Kenny Wheeler), but also Swedish singer-songwriter Jay-Jay Johansson and singer-pianist Anders von Hofsten. Lundkvist’s delivery of Joni Mitchell’s «Black Crow» lyrics (originally from Mitchell’s «Hejira», A&M, 1976) captures beautifully the poetic power of Mitchell as well as her nomadic personality, while André’s electric piano transforms gently the immortal fretless bass lines of Jaco Pastorious.
Anna Lundqvist (v), Jonas André (p, el.p)