The End, Why Do You Mourn, Trost ***1/2

Brutal punk-jazz never underskronkingly told from the reliably intense Mats Gustafsson and pals on a mostly enjoyable blast through seven tunes where the nuances are darkly provided by vocalist Sofia Jernberg. Gustafsson is maxed up in typically …

Published: 22 May 2023. Updated: 9 months.

Brutal punk-jazz never underskronkingly told from the reliably intense Mats Gustafsson and pals on a mostly enjoyable blast through seven tunes where the nuances are darkly provided by vocalist Sofia Jernberg. Gustafsson is maxed up in typically bulldozing form with fellow reedist Kjetil Møster and multi-tasking baritonist/bass guitarist Anders Hana.

Why Do You Mourn counterintuitively - meaning if a blinkeringly unwielding style fetishist unable to see beyond the free-jazz horizon - includes a reborn, pleasingly primitive, quasi-pentatonic free floating version of creamy pure toned classic jazz singer Rigmor Gustafsson ballad 'Winter Doesn't End' co-written with Anders Lundin that appeared on 2019 ACT release Come Home. Jernberg radically reupholsters the song in such a squally, distinctive arrangement that rests on a dazzlingly detuned pitch and flute coating rendering it genre-less.

Drummer Børge Fjordheim does not mess about on an almost cartoon-ish third album the Scandi outfit recorded in a Stavanger studio in 2021-22. Shrieks keeping it edgily real by banishing all supper club niceties at every fork in the road.

Mats Gustafsson, photo: via Bandcamp

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María Esteban Trío, Happy Days Are Here Again, The Changes Music ***

You don't at all need ESP to dig this EP. But gravitate deep song retro fiends to it why not. Vintage sounds cleanly and meaningfully delivered by María Esteban reminds us of the style of the Nottingham singer Jeanie Barton a little. In a setting …

Published: 22 May 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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You don't at all need ESP to dig this EP. But gravitate deep song retro fiends to it why not.

Vintage sounds cleanly and meaningfully delivered by María Esteban reminds us of the style of the Nottingham singer Jeanie Barton a little. In a setting that finds the Malaga born Barcelona scene singer keeping playing company with guitarist Rai Paz, very much inhabiting the Oscar Moore type domain - bassist David Muñoz and flautist Edu Cabello (fetchingly on 'April Showers') are also playing partners.

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María Esteban, photo: publicity shot

Among the well picked songs is Ager and Yellen Chasing Rainbows movie song 'Happy Days Are Here Again,' used as the successful Franklin D. Roosevelt Democratic Party 1932 presidential campaign run theme song introduced earlier to record buyers by Charles King in 1930 and covered in recent years by Rufus Wainwright.

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The treatment of Rodgers and Hart 1930s classic 'Little Girl Blue' wondrously covered by Nina Simone decades later in her version complete with its 'Good King Wenceslas' piano introduction on the 1959 Bethlehem album Little Girl Blue: Jazz as Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club is another strong suit of the Esteban selections. Available from The Changes