Reviews that mention Mats Äleklint

April 24, 2022

Ståhls Trio

Källtorp Sessions Vol. 2
Moserobie MMP CD 126

Balancing on the firm underpinning of knowing strokes from Canadian-in-Stockholm bassist Joe Williamson is this eight-track bagatelle from Swedish vibraphonist Mattias Ståhls’ trio. Joined by Colombian drummer Christopher Cantillo, the group-composed tracks are thoroughly contemporary, but due to the vibist’s logical progressions and airy, open swing, encompass both Lionel Hampton-style pulsations and Cal Tjader-like nuances. Even a couple of tracks where Ståhls plays silvery soprano saxophone trills as well as vibes, and trombonist Mats Äleklint propels gutbucket slurs into the mix, the enhanced density doesn’t exceed harmonic intensity. MORE

February 17, 2022

The Block Ensemble

Bugs & Hugs
Clean Feed CF 569 CD

Rebecca Novak/Danny Kamins/Sandy Ewen/Damon Smith/Jerome Bryerton

Groundwater Recharge

Balance Point Acoustics BPAltd 15015

Unusual variations on how to evolve a striking program of improvised music don’t depend on ensemble size or geographical location. Instead uncommon achievements are usually the result of a particular vision and annexed to the players who add equally valid interpretations. That’s what brings together the seven Houston-recorded, all-acoustic mostly quintet tracks on Groundwater Recharge and the two lengthy ones on Bugs & Hugs which were combined and edited by Kristoffer Berre Alberts and Lasse Marhaug from separately recorded textures by 14 fellow Northern European improvisers. MORE

September 7, 2021

Lisa Ullén/Anna Högberg

Step Up a Second
Disorder 09

With no need for superfluous arrangements, keyboardist Lisa Ullén and alto saxophonist Anna Högberg have created a compact program that advances progressively with space left for most of the 11 Swedish players to personify the sounds. In a performance that takes a little less than 33½ minutes, this is an appropriately sized ensemble from which members can step up to play for seconds or more

Högberg who played with Paal Nilssen-Love and Ullén, who has partnered Angharad Davies, define parameters with an introduction that squirms between reed peeps and whirls and keyboard jangles and single key picks, before Niklas Barnö’s trumpet flutters and Mats Äleklint’s trombone gushes announce an entire band sequence. Even so the tutti intrusion is more constricted than crescendo with horn whistles and slurs from brass and reed tones evolving alongside piano key clips. Only when Ullén and Sten Sandell feature continuous tremolo riffs from their harmoniums do contrapuntal horn parts including Per Texas Johansson’s split tone clarinet vibrations and banjo-like twangs from guitarist Finn Loxbo challenge the narrative. Slightly past the half-way mark, horn multiphonics are pushed aside with chunky piano dynamics that are half honky tonk and half Heavy Metal, especially when Ullén races up the scale at the same time as inner piano strings are plucked and stopped. Completed with swelling chords projected by the entire group, the narrative diminishes to collective peeps and squeaks, underlined by an almost unbreakable harmonium drone. Barely there vibrations define the final motif as disconnected shrills buzzes and squawks croak the sequence to silence. MORE

June 16, 2020

Torbjörn Zetterberg & Den Stora Frågan

Are You Happy?
Moserobie MMP CD 122

Continuing to establish himself in the international improvised music world, with this session Swedish bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg goes a long way towards answering the big question which is the translation of his band is name. To wit: How do you create an outstanding contemporary Jazz CD? Zetterberg does so by melding elements from heritage and happenstance without letting either dominate. His eight compositions and arrangements are interpreted by a top-flight Scandinavian-based crew: Portuguese trumpeter Santos Silva; Italian baritone saxophonist/ clarinetist Alberto Pinton; plus North European-born trombonist Mats Äleklint; alto and tenor saxophonist/flutist Jonas Kullhammar, keyboardist Alexander Zethson and drummers Jon Fält or Lars Skoglund. MORE

February 8, 2020

El Intruso’s

12th Annual International Critics Poll
Ken Waxman’s 2019 ballot

Musician of the year: Joe McPhee

Newcomer Musician: Timothée Quost, Gaspard Beck

Group of the year: Roots Magic, Tonus, Joe McPhee Trio

Newcomer group: MétamOrphée

Album of the year: Quatuor de Jazz Libre Du Québec, Musique Politique Anthologie 1971-1974 (Tour de Bras) Uri Caine, The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

Composer: Roscoe Mitchell, Uri Caine, Harris Eisenstad

Drums; Gerald Cleaver, Steve Noble, Tim Daisy

Acoustic Bass Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips MORE

December 13, 2019

Torbjörn Zetterberg & the Great Question

Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD 058

Michael Formanek Very Practical Trio

Even Better

Intakt CD 335

Izumi Kimura/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway

Illuminated Silence

Fundacja Sluchaj FSR01/2019

Gabriela Friedli Trio


Leo Records CD LR 828

Miles Perkin Quartet

The Point in Question

Clean Feed CF 529 CD

Something in the Air: Double bassists Score from the Background

By Ken Waxman

Probably the most misunderstood instrument in popular music, the double bass is hard to hear when any ensemble is playing full throttle. Yet the history of jazz, at least, would be markedly different if not for the rhythmic impetus propelled by sophisticated bassists. Not only that, but starting with iconoclasts like Charles Mingus and Oscar Pettiford in the 1950s, double bassists’ talents directing groups and as composers have kept pace with their burgeoning skill in playing both arco and pizzicato. This situation has only expanded over the years and these CDs offer some fine examples. Bassists may not be the designated leaders of all of them, but each highlights the bull fiddlers’ talents as accompanists, soloists, arranger and composers. MORE

June 2, 2019

Fredrik Nordstöm

Clean Feed CF 496CD


Pet Variations

Odin Records CD 9568

Pushing aside the clichés which describe so-called Nordic Jazz as cold and torpid, these Scandinavian units prove that some shibboleths are as legit as Donald Trump’s views on those nations’ health care. The long-established Atomic quintet and saxophonist Fredrik Nordstöm’s ad-hoc double quartet create contemporary mainstream sounds with the same warmth and grace that could come from any band situated on any point of the compass. MORE

October 6, 2018

Extra Large Unit

More Fun, Please
PNL Records PNL040

Michael Moss/Accidental Orchestra


4th Stream Records ERG 10013

Two CD variations of how best to perform Jazz compositions-improvisations with very big bands also bring into play questions of proper brevity and length. Featuring 29 Scandinavian musicians who are part of both his large unit plus an ensemble described as Intuitive People, Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s More Fun, Please is a 33-minute plus conduction which while integrating solo and group passages references several strands of music to make its points. MORE

May 7, 2018

Large Unit

PNL Records PNL 038

Ensemble SuperMusique

Les Porteuses D’Ȏ

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 239 CD


Le Tombeau de Poulenc

Yolk Records J2069

The Dorf/N


Umland Records 53

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra

The Word for It Now

FMR CD 458-0817

Something in the Air: Rethinking the Large Ensemble

By Ken Waxman

Just as definitions of various forms of music has changed over the decades, so has the interpretation of what exactly constitutes a large jazz or improvised music orchestra. Sure there are still plenty of bands that stick to the popular Ellington-Basie mode with a fixed number of players and tunes. But that’s longer the norm. As music becomes more open and global, orchestral and so-called exotic instruments beef up the sections; a pre-determined number of players in each section is ignored and the use of electric instruments and electronics has soared. Equally outstanding in execution, here are some instances of how uniquely constituted large ensembles operate. MORE

February 16, 2018

Angles 9

Disappeared Behind the Sun
Clean Feed CF405 CD

Pan-Scan Ensemble

Air and Light and Time and Space

Hispid Records HISPI 007/ PNL Records PNL 035

Neither fish nor fowl, the small big band is actually more like a crossbred dog, which combines the best qualities of each strain. For instance a nonet such as the Scandinavian bands featured here, offers the power of larger ensemble with the flexibility of a combo. Formulated individually, these rip-roaring sagas take disparate paths to achieve a similar level of animation. MORE

December 1, 2016

Large Unit

PNL Records PNL 033

Zlatko Kaučič Cerkno Jubileum Orchestra

In Memory of Boštjan Cvek

Klopotec IZK CD 040

Large ensemble organizers are comparable to climbers of Mount Everest: they continue to brave the preparation and discomfort that goes into formulating the ascent for the fulfillment of the completed task. Still despite 21st century socio-economic considerations big bands are still formulated, but with the proviso that for every touring unit literally 100 others come together briefly for a particular program. The ensembles here, each coincidentally led by a percussionist, reflect both side of this equation. Subsidized by merchandise sales, government aid and his own gumption, in between his many other commitments, Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love has kept his Large Unit on the road since 2013. Ana is a distinctive part of its discography because his three compositions add Brazilian rhythms played by Brazilian percussionists to his band already made up of musicians from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. MORE

August 6, 2016

Festival Report

Ljubljana Jazz Festival
By Ken Waxman

Located on both banks of the picturesque Ljubljanica River, Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, is a pleasant city containing, unique historical edifices mostly designed by the city’s early 20th century starchitect Jože Plečnik. Ljubljana is replete with pedestrian-only areas, especially near the iconic Triple Bridge, with parts of its main street restricted to public transit and bicycles. In modern times, Ljubljana has been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, under Italian or French control, ruled by native dictators and kings and a member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Declaring independence in 1991, Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004. Always supportive of improvised music, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival celebrated its 57th anniversary June 29th-July 2nd this year. Performances were presented in different indoor spaces and the back-garden of the multi-level Cankarjev Dom cultural centre, one of Europe’s largest. MORE

September 1, 2015

Je Suis!

Ça Va?
Umlaut Records UM CD 0019

All Included

Satan in Plain Clothes

Clean Feed CF 328 CD

Testimony to the unquestioned maturity of Scandinavian Jazz and Improvised music is the number of youngish improvisers on the scene both in Europe and overseas. Case in point is Stockholm-based trombonist Mats Äleklint, who brings a rugged scope and agile resilience to his solo and section work. Someone who has played in bands as disparate as The Thing XXL and with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, Äleklint is not only the link between the groups here, but ups the excitement factor each time he solos. MORE

September 1, 2015

All Included

Satan in Plain Clothes
Clean Feed CF 328 CD

Je Suis!

Ça Va?

Umlaut Records UM CD 0019

Testimony to the unquestioned maturity of Scandinavian Jazz and Improvised music is the number of youngish improvisers on the scene both in Europe and overseas. Case in point is Stockholm-based trombonist Mats Äleklint, who brings a rugged scope and agile resilience to his solo and section work. Someone who has played in bands as disparate as The Thing XXL and with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, Äleklint is not only the link between the groups here, but ups the excitement factor each time he solos. MORE

April 7, 2015

Festival Report

Artacts ‘15
By Ken Waxman

Situated in the midst of Austria’s Tyrolean Alps where chair lifts are a 20 minute walk from the central square, every second store sells ski equipment and alpine-outfitted fanatics crowd the streets, the resort of St. Johann in Tirol welcomed an equally committed but different type of fanatic March 6-8. Celebrating its 15th anniversary the annual Artacts Festival presents improvised music at the Alte Gerberei cultural centre and elsewhere. Evening performances ranged from the focused minimalism of the opening Gutvik/Kjær/Strøm trio to drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s 11-piece Large Unit that closed the festival with confrontational brawn. MORE

June 25, 2014

Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit

First Blow
PNL Records PNL 021

Graham Collier

Luminosity-The Last Suites

Jazzcontinuum GCM 2014

Barry Guy New Orchestra

Amphi, Radio Rondo

Intakt CD 235

Danielle Palardy Roger

Le Caillou

Ambiances Magnetiques AM 215 CD

Modern Art Orchestra Plays the Music of Kristóf Bascó


BMC CD 204

Something In The Air: Translating a Singular Vision to a Large Ensemble

By Ken Waxman

October 6, 2010

Festival Météo, Mulhouse, France

August 24 to August 28
By Ken Waxman

Proving that varieties of improvised music can sound as different as the personalities of those who play it, the annual Météo festival offered a cornucopia of noteworthy sounds from the bombastic to the barely audible, solo or in groups.

Venues in this Upper Rhine French city, located 30 kilometres northwest of Basel, Switzerland, also reflected this sonic diversity. Performances take place in the hushed surroundings of a 12th Century chapel downtown, and on the city’s outskirts, a capacious night club usually used for rock shows; and, new this year, within the expanses of an abandoned 1930s’ thread manufacturing factory. MORE

January 31, 2005


The Visible
Moserobie MMP CD 022

Mistitled, as is every aural document, THE VISIBLE is obviously not about music you can see. However the resonant voicing that make up this CD by Albert Pinton’s new quintet are mostly focused on the sonorous qualities of low-pitches. Not only does the Italian-born, Stockholm-based reedist and his band elaborate eight of his choice new compositions, but the disc showcases a set of young soloists. It’s Pinton’s finest effort yet.

With the make-up of the band -- trombone, reeds, vibes, bass and drums -- reminiscent of some of the 1950s West Coast experiments, there’s still enough of a sinewy pulse from bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg and drummer Jon Fält to keep the tunes away from Cool effeteness. Without a real chordal instrument furthermore, the playing of the front line is cast in even bolder relief. MORE