Bombastica! : The WERNER – ROSENGREN Swedish Jazz Quartet
Bernt Rosengren (st) Lars Werner (p) Torbjorn Hultcrantz (b) Sune Spangberg (drs)
Recorded in Stockholm, Sweden; June 30, 1960
Bombastica (3:23) (Samuelsson)
Dancing in a Country Summer House (2:27) (Werner)
Living Up To Life (3:00) (Samuelsson)
Latin Beat (4:28) (Samuelsson)
Sergel (2:13) (Werner)
Bombastica (2:01) (Samuelsson) (up tempo version)
Drottingholm Ballad (6:18) (Werner)
Too Late (5:51) (Werner)
Happiness Beans (2:18) (Werner)
Sweet Summer (3:50) (Werner)
Bombastica! This album was created largely to spotlight contemporary Swedish jazz composition. Thus you will find here no sets of chord changes lifted from I Got Rhythm, and no blues figures designed only as light pegs from which to hang extended improvisation. Instead there are a number of highly individual new tunes demonstrating the Swedish affection for and grasp of modern jazz.
About this NEW Jazzland Recording –
The description of this music that you’ll find on the front cover of the album is based on the comments of Kjell Samuelsson, who se compositions are heard on four tracks here (and who also plays piano on the up-tempo version of his intriguing Bombastica). The other tunes are the work of pianist LARS WERNER, whose playing is co-featured here with that of tenorman BERNT ROSENGREN. Jointly, the work of these men serves to point up once again the fact that the musicians of Sweden, perhaps more than those of any other country outside the United States, have a remarkable aptitude for American jazz. And the strongest compliment that can be paid to their efforts is to emphasize that this LP need not be listened to with any qualification. They don’t just write and play well “for foreigners” - they just plain play and write swinging, clean-lined, highly interesting jazz.
Lars Werner was born in Stockholm in 1934 and has been a musician since the early bop era of 1946. Originally a bop tenor player and later interested in the explorations of Lennie Tristano, he made the switch to piano in 1953. He reports that his major influences on that instrument have been early Bud Powerll, Al Haig and George Wallington; and he has also enjoyed the melodic lines of Dick Katz and Frenchman Henri Renaud. A self-described “non-conservative” as a writer (his favorite composers include Alban Berg and Kurt Weill; among arrangers he names Tadd Dameron and Gil Evans), Werner often avoids the standard 32-bar pattern (“as long as the music sounds comfortable from an improvisational standpoint”). He has led small groups since 1953, and in ’57-’58 took a quintet on an eight-month tour of Germany.
Bernt Rosengren was also born in Stockholm, in 1936, and ahs been hailed by European critics as the most impressive tenorman to arrive on their scene in the late ‘50s. He has made one brief trip t the United States – in 1958, when he was selected as first tenor for the Newport Festival’s International Youth Band. When Werner wrote a jazz opera for Swedish television performance in 1959, he used Rosengren on tenor. The pianist was much impressed with Bernt’s long, melodic lines and deep tone (which admittedly owes a strong debt to Sonny Rollins), and the two men have been working together ever since.
Of the tunes here, it should be noted that Bombastica, based on an unusual chord pattern, is dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie. Drottningholm seeks to paint a ballad picture of a picturesque castle near Stockholm, while Too Late describes the all season – both indicating Swedish-naturalistic elements in Werner’s writing Seagel is named after on 18th century Swedish sculptor; while the titles of such tunes as Latin Beat, Dancing … , and Happiness Beans are clearly self-descriptive.
Recent JAZZLAND releases include:
Spiritville – Julian Priester Sextet; with Walter Benton, Sam Jones – JLP 24 & Stereo 924S
Girl Here Plays Mean Piano – Joyce Collins Trio – JLP 25 & Stereo 925S
Blue Vibes – Johnny Lytle Trio – JLP 23 & Stereo 923S
West Coast Blues – Harold Land; with Wes Montgomery – JLP 20 & Stereo 920S
Chat Baker in Milan – JLP 18 & Stereo 918S
Cover designed by KEN DEARDOFF
Recoding Engineer: LARS NORDBERG (Sandrew Studios; Stockholm)
JAZZLAND RECORDS are produced by BILL GRAUER PRODUCITONS, Inc.
235 West 46th Street, New York 36, New York