This CD is hot! Not surprising. This group hails from Sweden, a country where jazz education is supported and jazz players welcomed, whether visitors or expatriates. (The drummer is a Dane but they're cool too!) James Moody recorded " Moody's Mood for Love"in Sweden while Bird once toured with Swedish sidemen. Their home-grown performers include clarinetist Stan Hasselgard, known for his association with Benny Goodman, and legendary reedman Arne Domnerus whose influence is felt on this release.
Pianist Lundgren swings with natural ease like a Nat Cole or Red Garland and accompanies with the tender eloquence of a Ellis Larkins. Kronkvist is equally versatile, a driving bopper on alto, nimble and sympathetic on flute. As for Miriam Aida, there are vocalists who dazzle you with what they do and those who capture you with what they don't. Like Carmen McRae, no tricks. She brings her straight ahead vocals and instinctive jazz phrasing to all but a pair of tracks. Those belong to Kronkvist who cuts loose on "On a Clear Day" and romances the wistful " Melba's Tune"by trombonist/arranger Melba Liston.
The session kicks off with Jon Hendrick's 'Ain't No Excuse." The group is so down home and funky on this chart that it seems they must really be from somewhere warm and far south of Scandinavia. Aida polishes up the aged"Time On My Hands"with a verse intro and easy-going swingtime and performs an interesting unison duo with Kronkvist on their original, "Right Here, Right Now." "Feeling Good" is played as a jazz waltz and showcases Kronkvist on flute. The only Latin arrangement, "Close Your Eyes," produces the most probing solos of the session and the closer, a fiery treatment of "From This Moment On" gives all a chance to shine. Svensson's big-toned bass and drummer Lund are heard to great advantage on both of these tracks.
Jazz is a blend of tradition and discovery. Discovery of new music, discovery of talented players. Jan Lundgren credits Domnerus with discovering him. He in turn found Aida and Kronkvist. The tradition continues and the future for these fine musicians looks bright.
(P.S. A bouquet to Sittel for their use of attractive cardboard packaging rather than the usual jewel case.)