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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Wolfgang on My Mind

Phono Suecia PSCD 176



1. Arstiderna (The Seasons)
2. Host (Autumn)
3. Coda
4. Johan Petter I
5. Johan Petter II
6. Johan Petter III
7. Wolfgang on my Mind - Andante sostenuto
8. Andante
9. Menuetto
10. Andante con moto
11. Presto
Tracks 1-6

Arne Domnerus - Alto sax
Claes Rosendahl, Lennart Aberg - Tenor saxes
Erik Nilsson - Baritone sax
Bertil Lovgren, Bosse Broberg, Jan Allan - Trumpets
Runo Ericksson - Bass trombone
Rune Gustafsson - Guitar
Jan Johansson - Piano
Gerog Riedel - Bass
Egil Johansen - Drums
Tracks 7-11

Johan Alenius, Krister Andersson - Alto saxes
Lennart Aberg - Soprano sax, tenor sax
Erik Nilsson - Baritone sax
Lars Lindgren, Jan Allan - Trumpets
Nils Landgren - Trombone
Hakan Nyquist - Cor
Pal Svenre - Keyboards
Bobo Stenson - Piano
Lars Danielsson - Bass
Anders Kjellberg - Drums
Bengt Stark - Percussion

Seeing the references to Mozart and The Seasons among the tracks, I thought at first that this album was going to be an attempt to fuse classical music with jazz. There have been many such attempts - some of them successful (e.g. George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) but many have failed - notably the essays in "Third Stream" music in the late fifties and sixties. Jazz and the classics often fail to blend because one or other becomes dominant or because the genres are essentially different. Jazz usually stresses improvisation and rhythmic flexibility, which are lacking from most classical pieces.

Certainly Swedish bassist/composer Georg Riedel uses some aspects of classical tradition alongside jazz but these seem to be a natural part of his vocabulary rather than an attempt at grafting one style onto another. Admittedly the classically-oriented sections don't sound very jazzy - as at the start of Wolfgang on My Mind, which is actually a five-piece suite starting from the four-note theme of the last part of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony. Yet this piece seems to have little connection with Mozart, being more reminiscent of the multi-textured arrangements of Gil Evans, although the presence of a sturdy trombone conjures up echoes of Carla Bley.

These pieces were written for the Swedish Radio Jazz Group, which was formed in 1967 but (according to the sleeve-note) "faded away" in the 1990s. Tracks 1 and 2 were recorded in 1967; tracks 3 and 4 in 1968; and tracks 7 to 11 in 1991 - but there is a consistency in Riedel's approach, which is very eclectic and beyond categorisation (which makes life difficult for a reviewer!). However, the music is all fascinating: using a band of first-class musicians to present a wide-ranging mix of moods and styles. It moves from the accessibly tuneful to the freely anarchic, but it will appeal to jazz lovers who like adventurous works - that is, people who appreciate such jazz composers as Charles Mingus, Gil Evans and Mike Gibbs.

Tony Augarde


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