I first heard the Göta River Jazzmen on the recent Sorgenfri Kirke releases by Music Mecca records. Those recordings were impressive but this session is a showstopper. At first, a fan may wonder, do I really want to hear 16 Swedish hymns? Believe me, you really
want to hear this CD.
Traditional Jazz devotees often have a tough time finding new material. This instrumental session is a welcome change in that, in my case, I discovered an hour of unheard tunes. The band handles the Swedish sacred songs in a manner befitting a New Orleans jazz band. The Göta River Jazzmen is among the best outfits in Scandinavia and I’m becoming a real fan.
Most of the delightful melodies are from the 19th century and may be known to European listeners. Some of the songs were translated to English for the use of The Evangelical Covenant Church of America. The band treats the compositions with unencumbered enthusiasm and a hymn session becomes a great jazz session. The septet continues to be one of the hottest traditional bands in Europe. Sverker Nyström’s clarinet exhibits a vibrato firmly rooted in the spirit of Sidney Bechet and George Lewis. With his front-end cohorts, Esbjörn Olsson and Lars Ehnström, Nyström lays down a hot melodic style that’s hard to beat. Add the soulful, down home piano of Ingemar Wagerman and a rock solid rhythm section to the mix and "Swedish Hymns" becomes an absolute winner. As in past recordings, Wagerman continues to impress. His solo on "I Sing With Joy And Gladness" is outstanding.
The Göta River Jazzmen look forward to their upcoming tours in 2003. They are booked for Denmark in the spring and an extensive British tour in June and July.