Monday, December 29, 2008

Jonas Kullhammar - Salut (Moserobie, 2004)

Kullhammar is a prodigy in his native Sweden, as a saxophonist, composer and label owner. I discovered his music through some concerts that were recorded from European radio and then posted on the Internet. I thought it was quite good and vowed to buy some of his albums. This album was his debut, recorded live at the venerable Glenn Miller Cafe in Stockholm, and shows that his band is well versed in the free-bop, ballads and blues that make up today's modern jazz. He is accompanied by Torbjorn Gulz on piano, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass and Jonas Helgersson on drums. "En Sang Om Karlek" opens this live album with a strong and energetic free bop performance. Solid saxophone and then a long piano solo followed by a bass and drums interlude. "Karleksvals" is a restrained medium tempo performance with mellower saxophone and mild piano. "Frippes Blues" was the highlight for me, a boiling blues that simmers through eight minutes of furious but never oppressive improvisation. Starting off with a snappy theme, the music moves into a simmering quasi-free improvised section. Abrasive saxophone is buoyed by the strong rhythm trio, and is followed by a fast fleet piano solo. Kullhammar is in complete control of his instrument and the band is with him every step of the way, breathing as one.
Salut -

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