'Oceans' is when you really know but you kind of already have an inkling before getting to it that A Room For Travellers works. As zen and poised as ever, Magnus along with guitarist Andreas Hourdakis, pianist Daniel Karlsson and bassist Thobias Gabrielson simply gel. So deeply satisfying. I could listen to Karlsson all day and all night and occasionally do and hope his own trio comes back to play again to the UK soon as a gig 5 years ago they did at Soho spot the Spice of Life was one of the best piano trio gigs that I have witnessed in many's a moon.
I bumped into the Swede while loitering with intent to speak to him by the Sweden stand at Jazzahead. Once free to be buttonholed he said that he books his UK tours himself as he hasn't an agent for the country and kindly slipped me a copy of Climbing the Ladder which I confess I missed last year. Listen above it's pretty good - and very different to A Room For Travellers but you can hear why he is so perfect as the significant sound of the lilting jazz Romantic within Magnus' band. He checked his phone to confirm the upcoming Öström Group dates for Manchester and London (details below) as I wasn't sure if there were even more that I didn't know about. He told me his big hero is Bobo Stenson - read about Bobo's new record Sphere - and said he was one of the first to purchase it on release a few months back.
Back to A Room For Travellers the ballad 'All Those Years' later is overall highlight of this eco conscious ocean-appreciating themed magnum opus. Öström is so melodic as a drummer it's unreal even when the beat is being subdivided into convoluted knots you are always sure that he always knows best. And he doesn't even have to play groove to make what he does work so well. But when he does - on 'Safe and Sound' - the offbeats ricochet and flick on not just any electric light inside but the brightest bulb imaginable. SG.
Just released. The Magnus Öström Group (photo: press) play Band on the Wall in Manchester on 16 May - click for tix; followed by Ronnie Scott's, London next night - ditto, click