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Time Sign by Susanna Lindeborg's Mwendo Dawa

On their most recent CD time sign, Susanna Lindeborg’s Mwendo Dawa provides a mix of avant garde music making and the electronic sounds drawn from jazz fusion. The Swedish quartet also at times, with the aid of computer-generated sounds, produces what might resemble the sound track from a science fiction or psychological thriller film. This virtuoso ensemble creates a tightly woven and complex matrix of sound with a thick texture of layered rhythms, complex angular melodies, and a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments. Pianist/keyboardist Lindeborg penned four of the eleven tracks on the CD while the other seven are by Ove Johansson. Johansson also is responsible for the computer programming and performs on tenor saxophone and Electronic Wind Instrument.

It is not known whether or not time sign is intended as a "concept" album, however there is a very even flow one composition to the next in a near seamless progression of tunes. Also, all the tunes are very even in their production, creativity and artistry and it is difficult to pick out particular standouts from the others on the CD. One tune that does bear some individual attention is the second cut on the CD, "Ballad for 12" an Ove Johansson composition. In this work, the group demonstrates their high level of artistry in collective improvisation. The quartet ebbs and flows with the "spotlight" shifting focus on one member then another while the other three fade into a more accompanying role. Another tune that "tickles" the ear is the last one on the recording, Ove Johansson’s "Twelve Times." What drew this listener’s attention was an effective shifting of the sound from one channel to another in the early stages of the piece before bringing it all together very effective especially if one is listening on headphones.

The average jazz listener should not be put off that Susanna Lindeborg’s Mwendo Dawa is avant-garde jazz. It is true the sounds created by this Swedish quartet go well beyond traditional conceptions of melody and harmony, however this is a very accessible recording. For those listeners who enjoy avant-garde sounds, time sign certainly will be full of welcome sounds. The recording would be an excellent addition to any jazz aficionado’s CD collection.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Susanna Lindeborg's Mwendo Dawa
  • CD Title: Time Sign
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: LJ Records
  • Tracks: 2nd of July, Ballad For 12, Mixed Series, Free Fall, Short Theme, Alone Piano, Time Sign, Techno 4 Four, Serious Serie, Autumnmix, Twelve Times
  • Musicians: Susanna Lindeborg (piano, keys); Ove Johansson (tenor saxophone, EWI, computer); Jimmi Roger Pedersen (bass); David Sundby (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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