Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snakes! In Sweden?

I'd classify Jonas Kullhammar as a power tenor in the Rollins or David Murray mold (he sounds a lot like both in spots, no insult), which makes him just right for the kind of modern post-bop big band session you get on "Snake City North," a Moserobie Music Production disk pairing Kullhammar's quartet with the Norbotten Big Band, jazz-crazy Swedes all around.

All but one of the compositions are Kullhammar's and it's generally exciting, often frenetic music, structured but with plenty of room for solo improvising, especially featuring the leader, and for avant-garde flourishes. "Frippes Blues" and "Slow Drop" are quite intricate, the former a toe-tapping burner, the latter kind of an ominous ballad and the more bluesy of the two despite the titles. It wouldn't be hard to twist to "Ruskitoonies McAroonies," while "For X" has a classical feel. One of my favorite buys this year. Some reviews say it will put Kullhammar prominently on the radar screen. It should.

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