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På skive


«Jojje Wadenius (70)»

Georg «Jojje» Wadenius is a Swedish legend. A guitarist, bassist and singer, known as the lead guitarist of the group Blood, Sweat & Tears (1972-1975) and a member of the Saturday Night Live band (1979-1985), composer of a popular series of albums of children’s songs, in-demand producer and session guitarist-bassist (he played on records of Joe Henderson, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Donald Fagen and even the Backstreet Boys) and the music director of the Polar Music Prize concert. Since 2001 Wadenius lives in Oslo, where he set up a recording studio.

The new double album of the acclaimed Swedish Norrbotten Big Band, the third of the Big Band that is released in 2016 and the second in its jubilee series (first one celebrated trumpeter Jan Allan 80 years), is a birthday gift to Wadenius who turned 70 in 2015. It containing eight specially tailored compositions honoring him by eight composers. In addition to these compositions this album includes Wadenius’ classic tune from 1969, «Snake in a Hole», performed as an encore on his 2015 tour with the Norrbotten Big Band.

The eight original compositions highlight Wadenius influential voice – a clear, personal sound of his own, a strong melodic and rhythmic sensibilities and a unique way of setting a distinct atmosphere or sketching a story with only few touches of the guitar strings. The first album opens with Danemo’s «The Traveller», developed as a dramatic story, narrated by Wadenius, double bass player Petter Olofsson and trumpeter Jacek Onuszkiewicz. Maggi Olin’s «Light Blue & Purple» employs the Big Band full power as it embraces Wadenius guitar solo. Danish Anne Mette Iversen’s breezy «The Wadenius Strut» shifts gently through changing moods. Helge Albini’s «In the Pocket» adopts loose fusion moves, contrasting the Wadenius solo with the solo alto sax player Håkan Broström. Norwegian Geir Lysne’s «Torshavn by Night», referring to the Faroe Islands capital, stresses a chilly melancholic lyricism often identified with a Nordic sound, abstracted in reserved solos of Wadenius, trombonist Peter Dahlgren and tenor sax player Robert Nordmark.

The second album opens with Norrbotten Big Band director Joakim Milder and his «Underground», a gentle and delicate composition that offers another opportunity to present Wadenius arresting melodic sensibility, together with impressive solos of flugelhorn player Dan Johansson and bass player Lindeborg. Fellow guitarist Johan Lindström’s «Music From the Jilted» uses Wadenius personal voice to suggest a highly dramatic cinematic narrative, later continued with with trombonist Arvid Ingberg contemplative solo. Monica Dominique’s «Just Now, Just Then» is a playful and rhythmic piece. Wadenius’ amusing classic «Snake in the Hole» concludes this festive, heartfelt celebration with an another powerful presentation of the Big Band, with Wadenius as the main soloist, sings, scats and playing the guitar.

Eyal Hareuveni

Georg «Jojje» Wadenius (g, v), Joakim Milder (cond), Håkan Broström (s), Janne Thelin (s), Mats Garberg (s), Robert Nordmark (s), Per Moberg (s), Bo Strandberg (tp), Magnus Ekholm (tp), Dan Johansson (tp), Jacek Onuszkiewicz (tp), Peter Dahlgren (tb), Arvid Ingberg (tb), Christine Carlsson (tb), Björn Hängsel (tb), Erik Lindeborg (p), Petter Olofsson (b), Sebastian Ågren (dr)

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