Cut to the chase and go straight for 'Nikita's Dream' which is also on Cloudland - like at an arm's length and reborn a genius rewrite of the Heinz Meier song rewritten itself by Johnny Mercer - 'Summer Wind'. If unfamiliar with bassist/cellist Lars Danielsson the Swede has a unique sound and has added over the years such extraordinary elements to the canon as his very moving 'Asta' motif from Libera Me.
All the tunes in this ultra luxurious symphonic jazz release recorded in Gothenburg are the Swede's. Of course you will know listening as you read Symphonized is dreamy and lush, extremely classy Eurojazz, to boot.
While the arranging, which does not make any efforts to be ''third stream'' in a mash up Gunther Schuller-like sense is deeply impressive and there's even a concerto for English horn and bass (not something you hear understandably in a jazz context every or most any day of the week), the writing cuts through even more. As we often bang on about in this blog quality writing is at the heart of everything when a record works whether that is a relatively spontaneous head arrangement based on sketetal riffs and grooves - or not and the demands of the format and firepower on Symphonized demand meticulous preparation and detailed charts.
UK jazz guitarist John Parricelli (Spin Marvel), whose Mediterranean tones and lilting pristine stylings have lit up Andy Sheppard's bands over the years, is once again in the formidable Liberetto band at the heart of everything here as is e. s. t. drum great Magnus Öström and pianist Grégory Privat, superb on 'The Fifth Grade' - a line up that has appeared in the UK in recent years and whom we caught at the Wigmore Hall in 2019.
Symphonized is even better than hearing the quartet live not because it has that sized up quality which of course it has but because there is a certain aura here that lifts the record to new heights and the guest contributions are superb. The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in tow conducted by Peter Nordahl add the extra bells and whistles so to speak. Sardinian genius Paolo Fresu impresses deeply on 'Africa.'
In a short attention span world - and even if, as it does for some given the amount of compromise involved, classical/jazz crossovers bring you out in a rash - a 2 disc listen which this is on CD may on these different levels fight against the tide.
Unlike King Knut, Liberetto and co do all that but certainly hold the line against all odds.
Liberetto: l-r: Grégory Privat, John Parricelli, Lars Danielsson, Magnus Öström. Photo: Thomas Schloemann/ACT
MORE READING AND RECOMMENDED LISTENING:
Live review Wigmore Hall - 2019