Swedish pianist Maggi Olin continues to explore new territory on her release Le Specialité. Olin incorporates various shades and tonal color into her compositions. Every piece on this recording was written by Olin.
Beginning with a simple four note sequence, "Hej Blej" develops into a mid tempo exploration of various modalities before briefly changing the pace. At times, Olin hints at some of Horace Silvers' harmonic concepts keeping a funk like rhythm going while at the same time exploring new possibilities.
Utilizing the group to full advantage, Olin's arranging skills are evident throughout "Sweet Dream." Broo, (who is one of the greatest trumpet players to come out of Sweden), takes a beautiful solo. Full of life and zest, Broo's uncanny ability to play with and around the melody segues nicely into a swinging moment with Olin. The ensemble returns with some great playing.
A haunting ballad, "Flowers" features Olin's softer side. Pensive and hesitant, her delicate touch works well in introducing the rest of the band. Soft brushes glide ever so gently over a pillow of aural delight. The group breathes as one while Broo and Almqvist sail through the melody.
Another example of Olin's arranging skills, "Micki's Eye" is a captivating melody reminiscent of some of the early Blue Note recordings from drummer Art Blakey when Wayne Shorter was in the group. A nice solo from Almqvist with some gently comping from Olin works well in capturing the moment.
A swinging number from start to finish, "Kallsupen" features the band at it's best. With great cohesiveness and a steady flow of ideas, everyone is able to stretch out to full advantage. Olin's smooth delivery punctuated with some inspiring moments illustrate just how far Olin will go to create and captivate.
Over the course of her career, Olin has been able to continue writing highly original pieces. With elements of fun, and a knack for developing and arranging captivating melodies, Le Specialité raises the bar further for this creative musician.