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Wide Meadow Soul by Jakob Norgren Big Band Splash

Who’d have thought it? A Swedish big band raising the roof with blues-shouting numbers, coupling this with some excellent contemporary jazz arrangements, some suggesting a definite Stan Kenton influence.

Quite a mixture and it jells most of the time in the new Jakob Norgren Big Band CD Splash.

Packed with 16 songs, all arranged by Norgren, performed by a congregation of 21 musicians and singers.

Leading the way is blues shouter Marino Valle, who belts it out in the best tradition of Ray Charles, Muddy Waters and Sam Cooke. Backing him are the Bondesson sisters-Greta, Stella and Sunniva-who label themselves the Slaptones. Among his six numbers, Valle’s best efforts include "Do You Call That A Buddy?"(with the sisters saucily answering him, Raelets’ style) and the blues chestnut, "It’s A Man’s World." Bjorn Jansson’s hard-charging sexy tenor adds flavor here.

Stella Bondesson gets her chance to strut her stuff in "Ruler of My Heart," looking to the Supreme’s for inspiration. Sunniva takes a turn to tell it like it is in "Seven Day Fool," with the funky guitar of Jona Goransson to help.

Among Norgren’s big band originals is "Soul Sisters," a three-part Noirish suite, featuring Jonas Kuhlhammer’s strong Coltrane-influenced solo on tenor sax. On another of his tunes "Pi," Norgren sets a haunting midnight mood, opening with his baritone sax. This leads to a swinging mid-section with Kentonesque brass touches.

Over all, Norgren reveals himself an excellent, versatile arranger. If it’s variety you're after, this is it-some blues to feast on, along with a helping of swinging jazz. Listen hardily. Don't worry about indigestion.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jakob Norgren Big Band Splash
  • CD Title: Wide Meadow Soul
  • Genre: Soul / Funk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Wide Meadow Music
  • Rating: Three Stars
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