By Tyran Grillo | Published March 2020
Trombonist/vocalist Nils Landgren and pianist Jan Lundgren unite for an intimate and multifaceted program. The single-vowel difference in their surnames feels appropriate, as their set consists of two distinct yet compatible decks of cards, shuffled into each other. One of those decks is instrumental, the other vocal. Of the former, Lundgren’s “Blekinge” introduces a windswept pastoralism. Amid a smattering of Swedish folksongs, including “Byssan Lull” and “Värmlandsvisan” (both reworked into delicate grooves), they plant the evergreens of “Norwegian Wood” and Keith Jarrett’s “Country.” Standing tallest among these, however, is Abdullah Ibrahim’s “The Wedding,” a tune glowing with tender nostalgia.
On the vocal side of things, listeners are treated to a bluesy take on another Beatles classic, “I Will,” where the duo offers plenty of atmosphere. Standards “Didn’t We” and “The Nearness Of You” rub shoulders with the pair’s “Why Did You Let Me Go.” “Lovers Parade,” an effort credited to Lundgren and Michael Saxell, unfolds with special clarity, wintry and sincere. Landgren’s singing is every bit as brassy as his trombone, and each informs the other.
Kristallen: Blekinge; Byssan Lull; Country; Didn’t We; Hornlåtar; I Will; Why Did You Let Me Go; Lovers Parade; Norwegian Wood; Olu; The Nearness Of You; Värmlandsvisan; The Wedding. (59:50)
Personnel: Nils Landgren: trombone, vocals; Jan Lundgren: piano.