Jazz CD Reviews

Bernt Rosengren Big Band – with Horace Parlan, piano & Doug Raney, guitar – Caprice Records

A big band that plays with power and potency.

Published on March 25, 2013

Bernt Rosengren Big Band – with Horace Parlan, piano & Doug Raney, guitar – Caprice Records CAP 21829, 41:48 ****: 

Knowledgeable jazz fans are aware that Sweden has had a jazz tradition that goes as far back as the 1920s. However the heyday for jazz music from this country was probably in the 1950s, and that is the period when Bernt Rosengren originally started to make his name with his Sonny Rollins’-influenced hard-blowing tenor saxophone style. In this outing, originally recorded in 1980, Rosengren is paired with two Danish-based U.S. jazz expatriates, pianist Horace Parlan, and guitarist Doug Raney, each of whom show off their talent in front of a high-octane big band of highly- skilled Swedish musicians.

In this outing, the set list has been arranged by Rosengren along with writing seven of the nine compositions. The two non-Rosengren tunes are Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is The Ocean” and the John Coltrane opus “Naima”. The standard of writing and playing is reliably adventurous, and the three key soloists (Parlan/Raney/Rosengren) deliver the goods with style and verve. The only other soloist of note is trumpeter Lars Färnlöf who soars over the band on “New Life”.  As for the two previously mentioned works, “Ocean” has some fine crisp Parlan piano, both as part of the band and with only the rhythm section, and then the Coltrane oeuvre which gives Rosengren a chance to show off his expressive improvisational style.

No less impressive are some of the other Rosengren compositions such as “Joe And Eye,” which has a Latin flavor and with the composer doing a smart turn on flute. The album opener “Hip Walk” takes advantage of the dexterous guitar-work of Doug Raney.

TrackList: Hip Walk; New Life; How Deep Is The Ocean?;  Joe And Eye; The Humming Bees; Naima; Autumn Song; Sad Waltz; Blues Nerves

—Pierre Giroux

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