Review on the Stockholm Fasching Jazzclub Concert

This piece written by Monica Mazzitelli was recently published by the important webzine JazzItalia. You can read here in English and in Italian

1900086_10152282314935929_955021283_nA convincing Daniel Karlsson Trio in Stockholm’s jazz temple
Huge expectations for this almost-debut gig of pianist Daniel Karlsson’s trio, probably the most legitimate heir of Esbjörn Svensson in the Scandinavian jazz scene. Actually, their musical paths did often cross as they also played for the same artists. Contrary from Svensson though, who had his own trio from the start, Karlsson has been more embedded in bands rather than going solo, starting with Oddjob, by far one of the most innovative and explosive bands among Nordic jazz.In fact, by coincidence, the very evening of this concert Oddjob won their second Swedish Grammy Award for their latest album, Jazzoo.
Expectations were duly met and actually exceeded in respect to the Das Taxibåt album (reviewed here). In the live performance not only Karlsson’s powerful pianist skills were confirmed or even surpassed but also the intense and joyful complicity between the three musicians was there, with double bassist Kristian Lind proving a truly inspired and stronger talent compared to what the CD would disclose, while Fredrik Rundqvist on drums won enthusiastic applause for a couple of highly catchy and original solos; and this is not easy when you are dealing with an already percussive, rhythmic and accented talent as that of Karlsson.
Even though Das Taxibåt was released just a few months back (September 2013), the new album Fusion for Fish is already scheduled for June 2014. Jazzitalia has had the privilege of listening to a premix, and the gig’s lineup did include the best of both. The new CD is really interesting, both for the sounds and the composition, and it bears a slight change of style – perhaps a greater composing awareness by Karlsson – which makes it even more recognizable and original. The influence of this change was felt even in the interpretation of some of the songs from the first album, beginning with the first in the lineup: the title track Das Taxibåt, with which Lind produced a beautiful groove and Rundqvist ended with a enthralling crescendo. The second piece (again the title track, this time from the new album) began with a wonderful piano improvisation, and Lind played as if possessed, while in the third, Bobo’s Temptation, the piano took a more elegiac, almost Chopinian, pitch.
The fourth track is the beautiful Cowboy Song, which follows the original up to the first half: from then on Lind uses the double bass as percussion while Karlsson plays an arabesque, finally joined by Rundqvist rapping the drums with a backbeat, until Karlsson takes everyone back home with the adorable piano attack. The drums are magical also in the next, Johansson’s Temptation, while in the following, Paddy Tang, Lind’s bass gives an almost calypso pitch to the sound.
After the break the trio becomes very inspired with Freshwater Tourist, a song from the new album that gives space to a large improvisation during which the dialogue between piano and drums gets almost near to free jazz, anchored on a rock-solid double bass, a track that will probably always be mostly enjoyable live. The following piece, Cousin Cuisine, is one of the gig’s best: an incredible groove into which the piano enters with a tiny delay, creating a perturbing effect of suspended pleasure, cymbals rapped at the edge to make the echo sound longer, and the slightly Latin pitch invites you to dance.
For the ninth track we are back to the first album with Sergio Giorgini, a piece that was already extremely elegant on the CD but here becomes even more so, and on the piano’s last magical notes in the highest octave, Lind takes the bow to the bass creating an even more emotional pitch, right before an improvisation which leads into Quicky, where Rundqvist’s drumming forces Lind to pedal like Lance Armstrong while Karlsson almost ends up under the piano: one of the most captivating pieces of the concert from a rhythmic point of view.
We catch our breath with Route 222, another enjoyable new piece, a ballad with a New York flavor that on the album is enriched by Andreas Hourdakis’ guitar (with Karlsson in Magnus Öström’s band), followed by the final piece, also from the new album: Correspondence with Folke B., rich in atmosphere and interesting changes, where Lind produces a beautiful improvisation using his bow, making it sound more like a cello.

Concert at Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden, February 19th, 2014
Set list:
Das Taxibåt, Fusion for Fish, Bobo’s Temptation, Cowboy Song, Johansson’s Temptation, Paddy Tang, Freshwater Tourist, Cousin Cuisine, Sergio Giorgini, Quicky, Route 222, Correspondence with Folke B.

Daniel Karlsson: piano
Kristian Lind: double bass
Fredrik Rundqvist: drums