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



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ARNE DOMNÉRUS

Memories of You

Proprius PRCD 2049

2 CD

 

 

    CD1
  1. Poor Butterfly
  2. Memories of You
  3. Take The "A" Train
  4. Blowing in the Wind
  5. Oh, Lady Be Good!
  6. I'm Confessin'
  7. It Don't Mean a Thing
  8. I Got It Bad
  9. Jeep's Blues
  10. Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child
    CD2
  1. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
  2. Hymn to Freedom
  3. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set
  4. Autumn Leaves
  5. Take Five
  6. Jazz Me Blues
  7. Lush Life
  8. Is God a Three-Letter Word for Love?
  9. The Fable of a Fool
  10. Hallelujah
  11. That Old Black Magic
  12. Out of Nowhere

Arne Domnerus - Alto sax, clarinet
Lars Erstrand - Vibes (tracks I/1-3, 5, 6, 9, II/1, 3, 5, 7)
Jan Lundgren - Piano (tracks I/1-3, II/1, 3, 7)
Hans Backenroth - Bass (tracks I/1-3, II/1, 3, 7)
Rasmus Kihlberg - Drums (tracks I/1-3, II/1, 3, 7)
Bengt Hallberg - Piano (tracks I/5, 6, 9, II/5)
Georg Riedel - Bass (tracks I/5, 6, 9, II/5)
Egil Johansen - Drums (tracks I/5, 6, 9, II/5)
Rune Gustafsson - Guitar (tracks I/4, 7, 8, II/2, 4, 6, 8)
Gustaf Sjokvist - Organ (track I/10)
Gunnar Svensson - Piano (tracks II/9-12)
Yngve Akerberg - Bass (tracks II/9-12)
Jack Noren - Drums (tracks II/9-12)
Rolf Ericson - Trumpet (track II/12)

In the year of Benny Goodman's centenary, it seems fitting to have a retrospective album from one of his keenest disciples. Clarinettist Arne Domnerus must surely have been called "the Swedish Benny Goodman" at some time in his life, - a life which sadly ended last September, when Arne was 83. His clarinet style undoubtedly resembled Goodman's, with a comparably full tone, dexterous fingering and undoubted ability to swing. Yet Domnerus differed from Goodman in also playing the alto sax - where his influences included Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter and Charlie Parker.

In fact his alto playing here sounds rather like a cross between Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges: mixing the fluent clarity of Carter with the swooping rhapsodising of Hodges. This double album gives us a fine cross-section of his work from the second half of his career, with tracks taken from albums recorded between 1975 and 2007. Domnerus had long since made a name for himself on the international jazz scene with his appearance at the Paris Jazz Fair in 1949, after which he played for the Swedish Radio Big Band as well as performing with American visitors and leading his own groups. Indeed, the varied bands on this album include many other great Swedish jazzmen, such as Bengt Hallberg, Lars Erstrand and Jan Lundgren.

This selection provides examples of Arne's expertise on alto sax and clarinet: probably more the former than the latter, although on many tracks he plays both instruments. Certainly the Benny Goodman influence on his clarinet can he heard in tracks like Poor Butterfly and Memories of You (both tunes in Goodman's repertoire). But the Hodges influence is clear in Arne's interpretations of such numbers as Take the "A" Train and Jeep's Blues. And his purity of tone (cf. Benny Carter) is evident in Blowing in the Wind - a delightfully close duet with guitarist Rune Gustafsson.

In fact Domnerus can be heard in a variety of settings: sounding echoey with just organ accompaniment in Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child; delivering some more enticing duets with guitar including It Don't Mean a Thing and Oscar Peterson's Hymn to Freedom; and recorded with rather soupy strings on Benny Carter's The Fable of a Fool. But he is perhaps most relaxed with his own quintets, which are well represented on this compilation. The very fast quintet version of Take Five is nothing short of amazing, with stunning drum breaks from Egil Johansen. It is followed by an equally surprising Jazz Me Blues taken at half the usual tempo.

The recording quality is very good, even on the "live" tracks. You might call this a "Best of" collection - at least, of Arne's later work. And Arne Domnerus was one of the best of Swedish reedmen.


Tony Augarde



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