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«Transatlantic Conversations: 11 Piece Band – Live»

«Transatlantic Conversations» is a project of Swedish pianist-composer Maggi Olin and Canadian sax player-composer Christine Jensen, both leading a 11-piece Swedish ensemble, recorded live by P2 Sveriges Radio (Swedish Public Radio) at the Palladium hall in Malmö in December 2013. The two composers plan to copy this format to the other side of the Atlantic later this year and premiere a new set of works specifically composed for an 11-piece Canadian ensemble based in Montreal, featuring jazz musicians from Jensen’s jazz orchestra, including Olin on piano.

Olin and Jensen have collaborated before in another transatlantic ensemble, the Nordic Connect quintet with Jensen sister, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. Their new ensemble feature vocalist Sofie Norling, who plays with Olin in the David’s Angels quartet, bass player Mattias Welin also who plays in Nordic Connect and in Olin band, and guitarist Torben Waldorff, who played on one of Olin earlier solo albums («Land of Me», Prophone, 1996).

The eight compositions stress the complementary language of these gifted musicians. Both rely on the rich jazz legacy of composing and arranging for big bands as perfected by such masters as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Gil Evans; both opt for an unhurried spirit that leaves enough space for solo parts of all musicians and both spice their highly melodic, well-crafted jazz syntax with elements fusion and folk music and even add lyrics.

The voice of Norling charges this recording with poetic beauty and calm elegance. She sings expressive wordless vocal harmony on Olin’s lush pieces «Blue to Pink» and «Red and Green»; employs scat singing on Olin’s Ellingtonian light-swinging «Orange» and recites lyrics on Jensen’s «Swirl Around» and «Octofolk» with her commanding, reserved delivery. Waldroff solos on «Swirl around» and Olin’s «Yellow and Grey» adds an uncharacteristic dimension of urgency to these compositions. Only the closing piece in this live recording, Jensen’s «Wink», alternates the unhurried temper with some muscular funky-swinging mood, featuring an infectious trumpet solo of Fredrik Norén, later answered by sax players Jensen, Fredrik Lindborg and Henrik Frisk.

Eyal Hareuveni

Maggi Olin (p), Christine Jensen (as, ss), Sofie Norling (v), Fredrik Lindborg (ts, bs), Henrik Frisk (ts, bcl), Karin Hammar (tb), Christine Carlsson (tb). Fredrik Norén (tp), Torben Waldorff (g), Mattias Welin (b), Daniel Fredriksson (dr)


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