A treat from Tingvall trio this week on ''Dance'' by this original-sounding band that newcomers to jazz can nonetheless turn easily to if beginning a journey to the heart of the piano trio tradition because they are a band who live very much in the here and now and yet whose roots go deep.
A great example of a trio that does not fall into the trap of being too ''classical-music sounding'' on 'Det Lilla' for example (Swedish I think for ''the Little One'' but don't shoot me if not) there is nothing dry about what is a tender ballad that begins with a romantic piano solo from Tingvall enhanced with knowing bass lines from Omar Rodriguez Calvo.
Hearing this Swedish-Cuban-German band once again is a reminder of how indebted we are, and may not even know that quite enough properly, to the Swedish jazz tradition. Jan Johansson, an influence on Kit Downes, the cult album Swedish Folk Modern, Bobo Stenson, the late Esbjörn Svensson, Tingvall, Daniel Karlsson, the list goes on but begins with Bengt Hallberg. Stan Getz was captivated by Hallberg's harnessing of folk on ‘Dear Old Stockholm’. It's a wonderful world ripe to discover and lose yourself in, full of reverie and sometimes poignancy.
For hardcore jazzers who sometimes cannot see the wood for the trees and can be a bit too quick to dismiss, the Tingvalls may not appeal because they are poppier and certainly more melodic than most but never simplistic. Trigger alert, the tune seems to come first, the improvisational impulse second rather than the other way round as to be fair some would maintain it should fall.
Tingvall himself in his soloing knows how to harness the specific characteristics of Swedish folk music to accent his melodic jazz style, which otherwise taps modern-mainstream flourishes, but you might not even spot the folk side to his compositional approach unless you are alerted to it and then start digging around: hint it is sometimes there in the gracenotes he deploys. That Swedish jazz tradition he belongs to surfaces on the more positive and yet bittersweet 'Flotten' where drummer Jürgen Spiegel is subtle on brushes, the tune blossoming into a lovely melody taken on by Tingvall with beautiful accompaniment by the consistently superb Calvo.
Dance on the Skip label, is released on Friday. Pictured from top left-to-right Jürgen Spiegel, Martin Tingvall, Omar Rodriguez Calvo. Photo: via Facebook.