Jan Lundgren (p)
Reference: FSRCD 5053
Bar code: 8427328650533
This album is the end product of a years preparation and frustration by Jan and producer Dick Bank. There were times when one or the other, or both, were dissatisfied with Lundgrens treatment of the tunes. Because of the demands on him, Jans frustration after weeks of woodshedding led him to not once, but twice want to abandon the course, as the saying goes among those who run physical, not musical, marathons. For instance, even though Victor Herbert wrote Indian Summer as a solo piano piece, try as he might Jan could not shape the song to his or Banks satisfaction. They threw it out. Body and Soul was another as were jazz classics Anthropology, Daahoud, Giant Steps and many from the Great American Songbook.
Still filled with doubt about recording, he flew to Los Angeles from Sweden. At the Steinway warehouse in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles, where the two selected the grand piano for the recording, Bank asked Jan to run through the tunes. He played brilliantly. All of the discontent fell away. They were ready to record.
Doug Ramsey (April, 2014)
[Excerpt from the liner notes]
"Solo jazz piano is a devilishly demanding art but Jan Lundgren, blessed with keen intelligence, a superior technique, respect and feeling for melodies, unfailing taste and, above all, a certainty about his own style, is a pianist equal to and undaunted by such an assignment. He produces here a classic example of the genre, way up there with the very finest. Producer Dick Bank, lured out of retirement by an irresistible project, describes this CD as the best recording I have ever produced, the best Jan Lundgren has ever done. I must agree.
Lundgren applies his immaculate touch and perceptive treatments to some of the most tempting tunes. Even familiars by Kern and Gershwin have seldom sounded fresher, but Jan is ever ready to spring a surprise by plucking a rare page of Porter in Dream Dancing, making it sing and leaving us wondering how it came to be overlooked. Dave Brubeck's winsome In Your Own Sweet Way has never sounded so alluringly elegant, while The Man I Love and My Heart Stood Still are glorious reminders of the pianist's love and respect for Bud Powell.
I could pontificate on the outstanding merits of each and every one of these 14 performances, but far better to read Doug Ramseys 15-page essay - one of the most illuminating jazz descriptive pieces it's been my pleasure to read. However, I cannot demur from mentioning Jan's lingering inspection of Nobody Else But Me or his stunning account of Round Midnight, the perfect closer.
Every facet of this production is peerless, and it will stand as a milestone in Lundgren's career path. How it was conceived through a chance meeting in a dental surgery is a fascinating story in itself. Three words of advice: Go get it!"
-Mark Gardner (Jazz Journal, October 2015)
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