Swedish instrumentalist Lars Danielsson, whose merits include playing the bass, cello and violin and being an admirable composer and arranger, has music running through every vein in his body. His latest release, Tarantella is a menagerie of richly textured orchestral-jazz threads with ambient tones and celestial movements. Produced by Danielsson and executive producer Siegfried Loch, the recording is supported by Danielsson’s band consisting of pianist/organist Leszek Mozdzer, trumpeter Mathias Eick, guitarist John Parricelli, and drummer Eric Harland. All songs are composed and arranged by Danielsson with the exception of "Fiojo" which was written by Mozdzer. The album goes through a gamut of emotions from deep sorrow to over-brimming with joy. The complexity in the layers is laudable and keeps to a melodic angle so improvisations are neatly trimmed and tailored to the mood of the individual compositions.
Tracks like "The Madonna" and "Across The Sun" resonate like an open meadow of budding sounds and gentle atmospherics as the piano grazes across its length supported by the tender stilts of the drum strikes. The musical images are filled with celestial movements and tabernacle choirs in the harmonic forms. Other compositions are sonic miniatures wrapped up in sorrow like "Melody On Wood" and "Postludium." Many of the pieces are classically oriented like "Traveler’s Wife" and "Traveler’s Defense" with piano keys that glitter like stardust webbed in the suspenseful echoes of strings. The music describes the life of one’s own little world, like a treasure chest of memories that are temporarily visited, marveling at the keepsakes which have been accumulated over the years. Each composition recalls a specific time in one’s life, re-living the sentiment that can be pinpointed to that time. Sometimes it feels like the listener is going through a film strip as the compositions portray the scenes taken from a private journal, and experiencing what happened to this person. Danielsson keeps the music geared towards intimacy, though the music has a cinematic scope in many other ways, like the feelings that the music emotes and its capability to make an impact on the emotions of the audience.
Danielsson indulges his craving for avant-jazz in pieces like "1000 Ways," "Introitus," and "Ballet" which are littered with obtuse angles and spurts of impromptu sparks. The beauty of Mozdzer’s work "Fiojo" is exquisite. It is reminiscent of the bliss that a bride has while walking down the church aisle on her wedding day, or the joy that a father feels when holding his newborn child in his arms for the first time. It is a piece that emotes pleasure from every pore. The dancing strings and prancing piano keys in the title track are reflective of a country fair, and the gentle dewdrops falling across "Ballerina" have the elegance and stretched out limbs of a graceful dancer.
Tarantella is an album that speaks to audiences in the same way that a film strip can show the intricate details of someone’s life. The compositions are like memories and keepsakes coming to life. Danielsson’s arrangements have the strength to make an indelible impression on audiences creating music that moves like a 3-dimensional manifesto transporting audiences into a world outside of themselves.