"It’s going wild" is how Stampede must be spelled said drummer Per-Arne Tollbom. The album has no slick after cuts or overdubs; it’s just the result of an emotional and technical day-performance in the studio.
During last ten years, Swedish artists started an aesthetic moult. Their jazz appears full of vitality and rich in tendencies, going from be-bop to smooth jazz, passing by folk which grooves, then to post-rock and a soaking of free-jazz. Alas, the majority of jazz clubs in Sweden give priority to mainstream jazz but the hard-bop is in all cases acceptable, so the original Offshore Sextet (they were six at the onset) has re-surfaced and persevered in a good way.
In Stampede, Tollbom has chosen trumpeter Mårten Lundgren, tenor Mattias Carlson, guitarist Torben Waldorff and bassist Mattias Hjort. The band sifts through seven Tollbom themes.
The Offshore Quintet soundscapes easily between be-bop, hard-bop, rock textures, free jazz and even some touches of smooth jazz. They break it down on "Leprechaun" and "Barre" where Mårten Lundgren deploys high skilled expanded lungs. On "Dedication," there is a boosting dialogue between strings and drums with free ensuing interplay and technically dexterous delineation. The melody is subtly showcased on "Partille". Lundgren’s explorations are nice and smooth. The drums and bass interaction is noticeable on "Transylvania", in which tenorist Carlsson breathes, murmurs, pops, and splits his barefaced tones. On "Still Present", each instrument properly places the spaces. "Etch-A-Sketch" has some free jazz attacks with Tollbom’s boiling drum patterns. The piece unfolds and accrues into unexpected waters. Waldorff’s input is full of block chords and melodic changes. Joe Henderson’s "Inner Urge" is based on the original tune layout but the overall playing demonstrates the band’s great versatility.
Stampede is a delight!