Magnus Broo Quartet: Painbody (2008)
Like his fellow Swede, professional cyclist Magnus Backstedt, trumpeter Magnus Broo is quite an imposing figure. Backstedt, at nearly 200 pounds, often outweighs his fellow competitors by 60 or 70 pounds. Broo, a natural on trumpet, can dazzle as a sensitive ballad player or tear the insides out with his fiery free improvisations.
He has been featured on recordings by Ken Vandermark, Fredrik Nordstrom, Martin Kuchen's band Angles, and he is a creative member of the band 4 Corners, the improv quartet Boots Brown with Mats Gustafsson, and the Scandinavian supergroup Atomic. He has led his own quartet, the one heard here, for nearly ten years.
The disc opens and closes with compliments to and acknowledgment of the late, great Don Cherry. "Africa" references Cherry's multicultural late period recordings with its African feel. Though playing standard trumpet, Broo is a master of the slurry sound Cherry conjured from his pocket trumpet. "Don Don," composed by Broo, could just as well been penned by Ornette Coleman in the 1960s. Broo skips in and around his playing partners with that revolutionary sound Coleman and Cherry coined, with Broo trading licks with bassist Mattias Welin.
Broo's music is also reminiscent of fellow trumpeter Rob Mazurek. Both are well versed in the language of bebop and free improvisation, each choosing to combine the two to form a more popular music. On title track, the band lays down a fast pace over which the trumpeter spits great gobs of energetic notes. Likewise, the pop/rock groove of "Das Boot" is sure to be a favorite, as pianist Torbjorn Gulz mimics the energy with his nimble sprints.
The band switches gears on the contemplative "Second Wind," a somber ballad that builds to an emotional conclusion. Here Gulz anchors Broo's sound from the Bill Evan school of jazz. On the piano piece "Veri Li," he affects a very introspective ECM sound, and with "Koba" a satisfying blues feel. This is quite the working unit. The swinging "Smolk" and cool burning "Koba" are satisfying on many levels of interplay and swing.
Painbody makes clear that the future of jazz is secure and flourishing.
Track Listing: Africa; Painbody; Das Boot; Vera Li; Second Wind; Clockwise; Koba; Smolk; Don Don.
Personnel: Magnus Broo: trumpet; Torbjorn Gulz: piano; Mattias Welin: bass; Jonas Holgersson: drums.