John Stowell | Ulf Bandgren Quartet

Night Visitor

origin 82746

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Chris Lunn, Ancient Victorys

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After the last issue covering Stowell with Liemban CD on soprano and interpreting Sydney Bechet tunes. Here, he teams up with another guitarist, Ulf Bandgren, plus the bass of Bruno Raeberg and drums by Austin McMahon. The compositions are by Stowell (3) and Ulf Bandgren (3) on guitars and Bruno Raeberg (4) on bass. Austin McMahon adds drums. Here, Swedish meets American composing, and the playing works very well! This is their second collaboration. "Skiss" has a warm full solo lead into the song by bassist Bruno Raeberg and then a rhythmic pulse begins and with percussion all very light and warm. Guitar comes in, kind of ailing/new age, light but with interesting rhythmic touches and never boring with warm light producing an interesting study. Solos are clean, dancing, and lyrical, almost bossa at times. Stowell penned "When Jasper Grows Up" walking with a loping stroll that has the guitar a bit lazy and echoing. Both guitars create an unusual sound effect. The bass solo is like a giant in the room, full, round, and surrounding the melody. First guitar solo is blues-tinged, biting, and develops into complex lines, then the bass comes back in, walking and a bit less dominating, airy and sailing this time. "Reunited" by Raeberg has the guitar lazily back, kind of fishing around, and then the bass comes in under with percussion. Guitar develops even stronger, and the percussion builds the beat and emphasis. Raeberg on his "Night Visitor" shuffles us in with a bit of relaxed percussion slap. Then the guitar weaves with a blues tinge and angular talk. One guitar solos; the other is part of the rhythm, and then they both establish a lie with lazy wandering and weaving that is always interesting. On Raeberg's "Ode To Spring," he is already in a solo line with the drums talking, accenting. The bass solo becomes the lead head to the guitars in a bit of sailing flowing, just touching and developing with a sweet warmth surrounding. I like how the bass and drums are surround and cushion the tune while the guitar floats and reaches into the tune. No straight time here; let it extend and move. The drums and bass are so intricate underneath. Guitarist Bandgren penned "Taughannock Falls" with warm, quiet, slightly angular darts as the song then moves into a ballad. Drums and bass are ever so quiet. The guitar begins to establish a slight rhythmic feel in their talk from both the lead and backup. This is intricate and lovely. Bass takes a lyrical solo in the most dominant push of the song, a very convincing approach. Stowell authored "Ghost In The Corner" with a slight almost Latin touch in the drums and bass, as Stowell takes on the most complex crossing lines and counter lines in the recording. There are nice conversations between the guitars, as one takes the melody line and extends and the other counters. "Another Story" by Bandgren quickly walks into the line with bass and percussive splashes, then he swings warmly and releases to a bass solo that has both singe note and pluses all within the swing mood. Then the guitar develops more complexity, with angular trades between guitars, pulsing emphasis while they still keep that solid warm, determined swing. The voicing between guitars is superb. Stowell's "Tapioca Time" has kind of an angular strut lead in, never pushes but just slightly off center in the melody. Then both guitars take the same line with bass strutting lines under and touches of the drums. Percussion never dominates, splashing, texturing and emphasizing always. Guitar solo has a solid surprising and angular warmth all the way. "Early Five" by Raeberg has a dancing Latin rhythm with a stick drum emphasis on the drum rim, knocking to invite us all in. One guitar darts into leads with chords of the other establishing more rhythm and at the same time indicating new lines of exploration. Both musicians listen and hear each other so well. The CD is very accessible music, clear, clean and well executed. You can hear all the musicians challenging each other in this warm accessible envelope.






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