Ensemble Edge tribute to Jan Johansson delivers an appealing angle

Swedish pianist Jan Johansson (1931-1968) remains a haunting influence through pristine modal harmony, a painterly almost impressionist distance, and the harnessing of the lilt of Swedish folk music on jazz in Europe. Johansson is certainly a hero …

Published: 19 Sep 2021. Updated: 38 days.

Swedish pianist Jan Johansson (1931-1968) remains a haunting influence through pristine modal harmony, a painterly almost impressionist distance, and the harnessing of the lilt of Swedish folk music on jazz in Europe. Johansson is certainly a hero to leading advanced pianists notably Kit Downes and many fine players before him including most influentially in the lifetime of the groundbreaking e.s.t., the much missed Esbjörn Svensson.

There's a very different, at times utterly timeless hybrid pre-classical and jazz, take on the Johansson sound on a numinous new choral-flavoured Ensemble Edge tribute just released on the Danish Storyville label that includes their deeply poetic take on the sound. Work from 1964 Johansson classic Jazz på svenska (''Jazz in Swedish') is included.

Musicians involved on the gorgeous Dimma – a tribute to Jan Johansson include lead singer Karmen Rõivassepp and pianist Calle Brickman who swing 'Kvällar i Moskvas Förstäder' ('Evenings in Moscow's suburbs') or as Kenny Ball 1960s trad-jazz fans more familiarly know it 'Midnight in Moscow' so delightfully.

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Sparkling upness from Nishla Smith touring Friends With Monsters soon

Charming, lyrically strong, toothsome and homespun, 'Up' is a tuneful original from the sleeplessness-themed studio album Friends With Monsters to be released in November by Whirlwind. Nishla Smith, a Manchester-based Australian, sounds on this …

Published: 19 Sep 2021. Updated: 38 days.

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Charming, lyrically strong, toothsome and homespun, 'Up' is a tuneful original from the sleeplessness-themed studio album Friends With Monsters to be released in November by Whirlwind. Nishla Smith, a Manchester-based Australian, sounds on this track, oh, like Stacey Kent at first blush. But actually no not quite. Because it's jazz-poppier it veers over to the realm of Yael Naim and specifically 'New Soul' territory. Touring with the singer's Friends With Monsters jazz quintet – trumpeter Aaron Wood, pianist Richard Jones, double bassist Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley and drummer Johnny Hunter – catch Smith at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen on Thursday 14 October; Scarborough Jazz, Wednesday 27 Oct; Ronnie Scott's, London, Monday 1 November; Bobiks, Newcastle, Thurs 4 Nov; The Yard, Manchester, Monday 8 Nov; Seven Arts, Leeds, Sunday 14 Nov; The Spotted Dog, Birmingham, Tuesday 23 Nov; and at the Vortex, London, Thurs 2 December.