Ulf Anderson Band: Flying Carpet
Here’s a high–energy blowing session by a quintet of Swedes whose radiant concepts have been harvested from the often–plowed but unremittingly productive realm of bop. In a blindfold test, one would not only be hard–pressed to identify their country of origin but even to declare with any degree of certainty that they are not based in, say, New York City or southern California (Andersson, who wrote and arranged all the songs on the disc, even pays tribute to one of the latter area’s Jazz proving grounds with the happy–go–lucky “Hermosa Beach”). Andersson reminds me of any number of talented young tenormen from the States (think Eric Alexander, Bob Mintzer, Chris Potter et al), and the same can be said of his trumpet–playing front–line partner, Lundgren (not far removed from Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Tom Harrell and so on). Jazz — and this is especially true of its bop–based dialect — has assuredly become an international language, and these European wunderkinds speak it about as fluently as anyone, as do the members of their assiduous and always–supportive rhythm section. As for Andersson’s compositions, they swing with gusto and are about as well–crafted and admirable as any you can envision. The Jazz Messengers would be quite comfortable playing them, as would such contemporary groups as Alexander’s New York–based sextet, One for All. As we said, Andersson knows how to use the language, and his breezy charts are perfectly tailored to harmonize with the quintet’s gregarious point of view. If you’d like to hear some marvelous straight–ahead Jazz and don’t much care where it’s from, climb aboard the Flying Carpet and let this impressive ensemble from far–off Sweden take you on a ride you won’t soon forget.
Track listing: Flying Carpet; Slow Motion; Jamboree; Kwaku Baah; Early Meeting; Straight Flush; Tiny Giant; Milesology; Hermosa Beach; Hippodrome; Mr. O. Grinders (65:48).
Ulf Andersson, tenor saxophone; M