For his 3rd Posi-Tone release, tenor saxophonist/composerSean Nowell headed over to Sweden to record “Stockholm Swingin’” live at the Glenn Miller Cafe. Accompanying him on the journey was his New York City bandmate, drummerJoe Abba; despite the last name, he’s not Swedish, but the rest of the quintet is. Leo Lindberg (piano), Fredrik Olsson (guitar) and Lars Ekman (bass) join the American duo to create a pleasant program consisting of several standards, 2 originals by the team of Lindberg and Olsson (they co-lead a band), one each by Nowell and Abba plus a bluesy take on a traditional Swedish tune.
The disk opens with the easy loping rhythms of McCoy Tyner’s “Blues On The Corner“, a piece that showcases the smoky tones of Nowell’s tenor, a sound that brings to mind Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster. That tone is also evident on the lovely take of Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge.“ Nowell lets loose on ”Ack Värmeland du Sköna“, the traditional tune that a number of jazz musicians have recorded as “Dear Old Stockholm.” Abba and Ekman do a fine anchoring the rhythm section throughout the CD but especially on “Harlem Woman” (one of the Lindberg/Olsson tunes) and the drummer’s funky “Walking the Path.” For these ears, the highlight of the program is the fine take on Duke Ellington’s “Amad” (from “The Far East Suite.”) The rhythm has the feel of a Randy Weston tune over which the tenor and guitar dance around each with abandon. Gritty sounds but oh-so-fine!
“Stockholm Swingin’” satisfies on a number of level, especially in the way the quintet of musicians work together. They sound like they’re having great fun and, no matter the language, that translates into a fine listening experience. For more information, go towww.seannowell.com.