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«Big Band Stories»

Swedish, Stockholm-based sax player-composer Fredrik Nordström will turn 50 in 2024 and he began the celebrations already on the first day of the year with his first album featuring his compositions for a (16-musician) big band, his sixteenth album as a bandleader. The album was recorded in only one day at the legendary Atlantis Studio in Stockholm in June 20222, mixed and mastered by Nordström, and released on his label, Bluenord Records. Nordström promises to release more albums during 2024.

Big Band Stories is by no means a nostalgic and sentimental homage to the great era of jazz big bands. Nordström wanted to avoid Big Band clichés and suggest a contemporary perspective on Big Band’s sonic palette, with strong melodies and rich soundscapes where the unexpected can take place, with enough space for solo pieces. This Big Band was hand-picked by Nordström and features some of the most established musicians in Sweden’s jazz scene like reeds players Per «Texas» Johansson and Alberto Pinton, pianist Torbjörn Gulz and double bass player Filip Augustson. Nordström is the soloist on tenor sax on six pieces and has arranged for this Big Band some compositions written for smaller formats, now rearranged for a large ensemble.

Nordström is well-versed in big bands’ legacy and knows how to exhaust the full potential of his Big Band’s musicians, with all its nuanced and timbres. The nine compositions opt for slow-cooking dynamics that develop patiently the rich, melodic veins until they blossom into, multilayered and colorful textures with gentle, caressing grooves (check «Another Mountain»). Furthermore, these thoughtful compositions radiate a strong sense of emotional warmth and the joy of making music with so many like-minded comrades and only occasionally touch familiar Nordic melancholia (check the beautiful ballad «Peaches» and the serene «Everblue»).

Eyal Hareuveni  

Fredrik Nordström (tenor saxophone), Magnus Blom (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet);,Thomas Backman (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Robert Nordmark (tenor saxophone, clarinet) Per «Texas» Johansson (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Alberto Pinton (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet), Hans Dyvik (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nils Janson (trumpet, flugelhorn), Tobias Wiklund (trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet), Linnea Jonsson (trumpet, flugelhorn), Agnes Darelid (trombone), Dicken Hedrenius (trombone), Mats Agnelid (trombone), Niclas Rydh (bass trombone), Torbjörn Gulz (piano), Filip Augustson (double bass), Sebastian Ågren (drums)