"Jazzism, Mei 2016"Jazzism, 06-5-2016
Can we consider it a coincidence, that Paolo Fresu from Sardinia, Richard Galliano, raised in the southern France but of Italian offspring and Jan Lundgren of Swedish origin found each other? Certainly not, and in spite of the unusual and quite daring line-up, this collaboration of the three most melodically inclined musicians of today’s European jazz scene has grown and developed organically.
Yet, life within the world of jazz frequently leads to coincidental encounters such as the one by Lundgren with Galliano on stage of a festival somewhere in Japan. Both musicians joined an electrifying jam session, which led to enormous mutual appreciation. The regular drummer of Jan Lundgren’s trio is also a member of one of trumpeter Paolo Fresu’s many bands, so it is not all that difficult to imagine, that sooner or later they would focus upon each other's work. It seems however rather miraculous, that those usually very busy music stars would engage in a completely new musical enterprise. It appears to have been a true temptation for these continental music masters, to enter such a daring collaboration, and form this unusual trio.
Paolo Fresu (1961) originating from Sardinia, Italy, is an untameable poet of sound. The artist’s work, deeply rooted in the cultural life of his native Sardinia, his many international awards, innumerable recordings both under his own name and as featured guest signify the fascinating characteristics of this artist. Fresu is convinced that jazz must open itself to other musical cultures. This newly found collaboration with Galliano and Lundgren points in exactly this direction and gives ample proof of the artist’s limitless curiosity, still apparent after a career of hitherto 25 years.
Originality is accordion virtuoso Richard Galliano’s (1950) greatest asset. Early on, he realized that only through recognition and assimilation of one’s roots the artist’s character will ultimately be formed and allow him to aspire and finally ascend to the highest level of musicianship. Much has been written about Galliano’s encounters and friendship with Astor Piazzolla. Yet, to artificially shorten his career by calling him Piazzolla’s heir cannot be justified. Like few others, Galliano has much rather succeeded in mixing various musical languages into one idiom, very personal, entirely European but as close to jazz as to his Mediterranean musical origin. He was able to lift his usually rather bemused musical instrument, the accordion, as well as its smaller brother, the bandoneon, out of the depth of popular music high up to the polychrome of the classic symphony orchestra, helping the instrument to gain a deservedly much higher status and unexpected splendour.
Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren (1966) has so far been able to establish himself firmly in the same league as his excellent and innovative Scandinavian forerunners, pianists like Jan Johansson and as of late, Bobo Stenson. His articulation is strong and clear, his phrasing impeccable and his timing and touch is of highest calibre. His fluid executions are exciting yet relaxed, leaving much room for contrasting improvisations, keeping the listeners attention but at the same time letting him breathe freely. His musical range encompasses contemporary influences of classical music, traditional Swedish folksongs as well as an extended jazz vocabulary. In the beginning of his career, the pianist played with many jazz greats such as Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson or Herb Geller, but is now more and more concentrating on his own roots, clearly audible in his compositions.
Fresu, Galliano and Lundgren move within a great variety of modes of expression. Considering the fact, that the future of jazz can only be kept alive by opening it towards other musical cultures, the trio acts accordingly and presents a surprising amount of themes of very varied origins. The French touch is featured through an immortal tune by the great Charles Trénet. Swedish folksongs, Maurice Ravel's 20th century stylistics, Brazilian standards by Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes as well as originals culminate in a fascinating sound experience. Thanks to the remarkable musicianship of these three outstanding instrumentalists, the trio appears most capable of creating a fascinating whole, which – listened to from afar – seems difficult to obtain. This is the jazz with a contemporary tinge that provides a taste of the future: exciting, highly emotional and full of daringly creative artistic exchange. Thus, it aims at an audience interested in getting involved in its melodically intense projection
Richard Galliano started studying piano and accordion at the age of 4 with his father Lucien Galliano, accordionist and teacher.
Particularly gifted and invested, he quickly entered the Nice Conservatory, directed at that time by organist Pierre Cochereau, and followed courses in harmony, counterpoint and trombone. He won first prize in 1969 with trombone.
He arrived in Paris in 1975 and met Claude Nougaro, becoming his friend, his accordionist and conductor until 1983.
The author and composer had found each other. They got along beautifully. From this close collaboration many songs that are part of the heritage of French music, such as Allée des brouillards, Des voiliers,Vie Violence were born.
The second decisive meeting took place in 1980, with the Argentinean composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla.
Astor strongly encouraged Richard to create the French “New Musette”, as he himself had previously invented the Argentinean “New Tango”.
In his youth, Jan Lundgren was often seen as one of the greatest talents in tennis since Björn Borg. Thankfully, he has since changed allegiances.
Lundgren, born in Kristianstad in southern Sweden on March 22nd 1966, and raised in Ronneby, Blekinge, had his first piano lessons at age five. He was soon discovered to have an exceptional musical talent. After a long period of classical training, he discovered jazz more or less by chance in the late 1980’s. He was instantly hooked, rapidly absorbed the jazz piano tradition from Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner to Bud Powell and Bill Evans, and acquired a depth of knowledge of the Great American Songbook like possibly no other European jazz pianist.
While sailing through his studies at the renowned Royal College of Music in Malmö (where he was purportedly accepted on the condition that he occupies the piano chair in the legendary « Monday Night Big Band ») he also took up a busy schedule as a professional musician that quickly helped to build his reputation in Sweden. Discovered by Swedish bebop legend Arne Domnérus, he frequently played with other Swedish stars like Putte Wickman and Bernt Rosengren.
Lundgren’s debut album “Conclusion” was released in 1994, and propelled his career firmly forward. The following year saw the formation of the Jan Lundgren Trio with long time student associates Mattias Svensson (bass) and Rasmus Kihlberg (drums), who was replaced in the beginning of the year 2000 by the Dane Morten Lund. This steady band recorded seven well-received and commercially very successful albums for the Swedish label “Sittel” in the period up to 2003. The album “Swedish Standards”, released in 1997 even became a bestseller and reached a place in the Swedish pop charts. But the album “Landscapes” (2003) sold comparably and both releases soon became classics due to their linking Swedish folk music and jazz. The band’s intense tour schedule founds a temporary peak in a concert at Carnegie Hall as part of “Swedish Jazz salutes the USA”.
As a sideman, Lundgren has accompanied such greats as Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Herb Geller, James Moody, Pete Jolly or singer Stacey Kent. He has also shared the stage with ACT-artist Ulf Wakenius a number of times.
Jan Lundgren has been awarded a number of prizes since the early 90’s: In 1997 “Swedish Standards” became “best jazz album of the year”. He was nominated for the “Swedish Grammy” in 1995, 1997 and 2008 and the “Swedish Django d’Or Prize” in 1998, 2001 and 2002.
Having visited a long list of European territories and venues, Lundgren has also been on extended tours of Australia and Japan. He has visited the USA about 15 times and recorded some well-received albums for the label “Fresh Sound” (with, among others, pianist Lou Levy and trombonist Andy Martin).
In 2006 Lundgren becomes part of the ACT family: Initially he was featured as a sideman on the Ida Sand album Meet Me Around Midnight (ACT 9716-2). In July 2007 he released his first ACT album Fresu – Galliano – Lundgren: Mare Nostrum (ACT 9466-2), followed by Magnum Mysterium (ACT 9457-2), which will be released in November of 2007.
In 2008 Lundgren could reap the fruits of his labour, and his Mare Nostrum was performed in front of sold out houses on prestigious stages throughout Europe (Salle Gaveau – Paris, Tonhalle – Zurich, Victoria Hall – Geneva, Teatro Dante Aligheri – Ravenna, S. Caecilia – Rome …) as well as at Jazz Baltica, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Istanbul Jazz Festival. There are many good reasons why the band has been called “the first European super group”.
In the same year Lundgren was honoured with the Swedish Django d’Or, and began a collaboration with the classical trumpet player Hǻkan Hardenberger and the Swedish writer Jacques Werup – an exiting melange of modern classical and free music, of jazz and compositions of Jan Lundgren.
Lundgren also brought the Jan Lundgrun trio back to life in 2008, albeit with a new drummer, Zoltan Csörsz Jr. who proved to be a truly lucky catch for the trio. A new repertoire has resulted in the new ACT album European Standards (ACT 9482-2) which will be released in Mai 2009 together with the re-release of Swedish Standards (ACT 9022-2) from the ACT Jazz Classics series.
Jan Lundgren is part of a remarkable and long tradition of innovative pianists from Sweden like Jan Johansson who passed away early, and in more recent times Bobo Stenson and Esbjörn Svensson. Lundgren has never made life easy for himself, and has always tried to utilize his phenomenal technique to enhance his musicality. His ability to integrate the most disparate musical influences into a fascinating whole is unique in itself. Whether its contemporary classical music, the inexhaustible northern folk tradition or the pulsating groove of jazz, deeply rooted in Afro-American music: Lundgren has a unique way of leading the listener on a voyage of discovery – sometimes relaxed, sometimes utterly invigorating - through his highly individual soundscapes.
Jazzism, Mei 2016
''The trio is treating there fans again with a few 24-carat songs with a melancholy where the muical bounderies are constantly crossed. From jazz, classical, tango to folk.''