By Michele L. Simms-Burton | Published February 2019
Tranquility defines Quiet Now, a date co-led by harpist Stina Hellberg Agback and guitarist Jonas Isaksson.
Interpreting Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt,” the first of two tunes from the saxophonist’s canon, sets an anticipatory tone. Agback’s playing fills the space between beats like crystal chimes, while Isaksson delivers the long-lined theme with a reservation in sharp contrast to Shorter’s recording. Agback and Isaksson playing in counterpoint on “Infant Eyes” twines the harp and guitar, making them almost indistinguishable. And if there is icing on the cake, the quartet’s rendition of “My Favorite Things” satiates the desire for Agback’s harp to become the focal point. She delivers the theme melodically and harmonically, demonstrating the sheer beauty and power of her instrument.
“Alice I Jönköping,” the lone original here, is lilting and romantic with an ample harp introduction before bassist Pär-Ola Landin enters and is joined by drummer Daniel Olsson, nodding toward both Alice Coltrane and the Swedish city Jönköping.
Quiet Now: Witch Hunt; Quiet Now; My Favorite Things; Alice I Jönköping; Infant Eyes; Gospel Train; Naima. (46:18)
Personnel: Stina Hellberg Agback, harp; Jonas Isaksson, guitar; Pär-Ola Landin, bass; Daniel Olsson, drums.