Educated at the Academy of Music in Malmö, Sweden, Kristian Lind is a young bassist beginning his contributions to the global corpus of recorded jazz with the release of his first record, Wintergames. Like the Sonny Rollins piano-less trios that inspired him, he is joined only by drums (Peter Danemo) and tenor saxophone (Karl-Martin Almqvist). Paradoxically this setting both draws attention to Lind as he is driving the harmonic progression of the tunes, and detracts from him because the focus is so much on Almqvist's melodies and solos.
The music is essentially swing / bop with an occasional hint of free jazz which the group easily drifts in an out of. A good example is "think twice", a tune that starts off in a cool-school mood with a fat tenor melody by Almqvist, teases on the edge during Lind's solo, is pulled back by Almqvist's restatement of the melody, but then lets go during the final minute of the tune (Peter Danemo on drums leads the frenzy) before finally regaining composure during the closing seconds. This is followed by "skelettbebop" ("skeleton bebop") which pushes into free jazz even deeper, conjuring up a living pile of bones tumbling about with occasional glimpses of order.
The ironically-named "sweet dreams" is actually something of a funeral march with Lind playing arco, setting the somber foundation for Almqvist's tenor, sometimes sounding an air of resignation and in other moments screaming with fright. In a wry twist, Lind follows with "little happy tune", an uptempo swinger that will indeed put a smile on your face. The record closes with "sorry", which unfolds into a lovely ballad after an energetic unaccompanied solo opening by Lind.
In addition to covering bass, Lind composed all of the tunes on Wintergames. These are well-written tunes, the melodies already sounding comfortable and familiar.A nice recorded start for this Swedish trio.