Thomas Fonnesbæk and Justin Kauflin, Danish Rain, Storyville ****

THE TITLE TRACK OF DANISH RAIN IS MARLBANK TRACK OF THE WEEK FOR 29 MAY-4 JUNE Unadorned and delivered with a minimum of gimmickry hugely melodic this double bass and piano album on the title track is certainly a firm highlight of these …

Published: 24 May 2023. Updated: 10 months.

THE TITLE TRACK OF DANISH RAIN IS MARLBANK TRACK OF THE WEEK FOR 29 MAY-4 JUNE

Unadorned and delivered with a minimum of gimmickry hugely melodic this double bass and piano album on the title track is certainly a firm highlight of these modern-mainstream tracks. Together sparks fly. A duo that has already released through the same Danish label Synesthesia (2019) and Standards (2020) Danish bassist Thomas Fonnesbæk who lands in the Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen tradition was also impressive on 2022's The Touch while playing partner Maryland born pianist Justin Kauflin going back much further delivered one of 2015's very best albums on his own trio album, Dedication.

Danish Rain includes a fine version of Michel Legrand classic 'You Must Believe in Spring' where the rapport of both players delivers remarkably tender results. We are less keen on the treatment of John Lennon's 'Imagine' that does not prove as rewarding but nevertheless remains a largely enjoyable release where strong ideas developed in an intimate duo conversational understanding translate so well. Just released Danish Rain is on a par with their best work together Synesthesia particularly on that 2019 release for its serene cover of Oscar Peterson's 'Nigerian Marketplace.'

MORE LISTENING:
  • Standards (2020)
  • Synesthesia (2019)

Thomas Fonnesbæk and Justin Kauflin, photo: via InMusic

updated 29/05/23

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Johan Lindström and the Norrbotten Big Band, Johan Lindström and the Norrbotten Big Band, Moserobie ***

Slightly paradoxically given there are quite a lot of people on this record the best bits are the solo guitar passages for instance the delicate, pristine touches that hint at flamenco on 'Östanvik'. But while overall patchy the saving grace for …

Published: 24 May 2023. Updated: 11 months.

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Slightly paradoxically given there are quite a lot of people on this record the best bits are the solo guitar passages for instance the delicate, pristine touches that hint at flamenco on 'Östanvik'. But while overall patchy the saving grace for the instrumentalism of the big band is its progressive nature - it's not a boring swing machine at all and has plenty of ideas. In other words it isn't at all square. Guitarist Johan Lindstrom isn't dull and neither are his charts borne out of a residency but it's an album easy to admire rather than embrace fully. Chamber jazz elegy 'Pasacaglia' is the best thing and the justifiably internationally renowned Swedish big band the Norrbotten plays it very skilfully conducted by very fine saxist Joakim Milder, who if you recall when he had his horn in his hands on that occasion enhanced the Marcin Wasilewski trio so well on 2014's Spark of Life. Best of the big band tunes is the syncopated smash and grab of 'Arctic Mambo.' Johan Lindstr​ö​m, photo: Bandcamp publicity shot