By John Murph | Published December 2018
Fredrik Kronkvist is one of many talented Scandinavian musicians who demonstrates that there’s more to their jazz scene than the recondite Nordic tone. The Swedish alto saxophonist has been blazing across the European jazz scene for more than a decade, thanks to his flaring tone and propulsive improvisations. With frequent collaborations alongside esteemed American musicians, such as Jason Marsalis, Gregory Hutchinson and Aaron Goldberg, Kronkvist often anchors his music deep inside the modern hard-bop tradition.
That could play to his disadvantage, because the global jazz scene is overcrowded with such acolytes. That said, he delivers the goods persuasively and aggressively on his 15th disc, Kronicles. Showcasing all originals, the album brandishes Kronkvist’s vivacious passages marvelously as the rhythm section sweeps them forward with combustible momentum. On most pieces, he and the ensemble charge forth in classic mid-’60s Coltrane fashion with Jeff “Tain” Watts’ hyperkinetic polyrhythms and pianist Orrin Evans’ spry accompaniments punctuating the bandleader’s swaggering, often prolix excursions. The music burns so hot that listeners might want it to quell to better luxuriate in Kronkvist’s iridescent tone and the quartet’s flinty accord.
Kronicles: Oneness (Prelude); Fearless; Reborn; Ups And Downs; Devoted; Ancient To Future; Oneness (Interlude); Sunbeams; Daybreak; Nightfall; Oneness; Zenith. (79:40)
Personnel: Fredrik Kronkvist, alto saxophone; Orrin Evans, piano; Martin Sjöstedt, bass; Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums.