Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nils Landgren Eternal Beauty Act 2014

An exquisite melancholy. Eternal Beauty is an emotional journey embracing the evocative spirit of the soul.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com


One of the rare Renaissance men in improvisational music, Nils Landgren is a prolific instrumentalist performing with both funk and big band collectives. Perhaps the most engaging point of Eternal Beauty would be the vocals. Landgren's vocals are almost a mirror image of his instrumental work. A slight rasp with an intimate and understated delivery is the perfect organic lyrical counterpoint to Landgren's zen like instrumental prowess, no notes are wasted.
 
While I try to leave personal feelings aside when listening to recordings for critical review there is the ironic if not slightly conceptual idea of embracing the precious gift which is life. As someone struggling with a life threatening illness this emotional spin penetrated my soul with such gems as "Eternal Beauty." There are songs pulled from both the pop and more traditional jazz genres which include George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity" and the exquisite "One More Angel" from the great John Patitucci. Eternal Beauty is a magnificently crafted snapshot in time of where Nils Landgren finds himself on his own life quest. The amazing title track was written with pianist Michael Wollny and Eva Svensson, Esbjorn Svennson's widow.
 
 
The lyrical cycles of life find cut a far reaching harmonic path while the presentation is organic and at times ethereal. Simplicity is indeed the ultimate in sophistication. This is music in the moment that embraces both the visceral and cerebral while never wandering too far off the beaten path. A stealth recording that could easily fly under your radar. Melancholy but never morose, a emotive conduit of harmonic synergy. A stellar recording.
 
Tracks: Love Of My Life; Another Kind Of Blue; Broken Wings; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; Green Fields; One Frozen Moment; Eternal Beauty; Isn't It A Pity; Get Here; One More Angel; We Don't Need Another Hero; For Your Love; Dear Diary; Love Is Real.
 
Personnel: Nils Landgren: Trombone, Vocals; Michael Wollny: Piano; Johan Norberg: Guitars; Lars Danielsson: Upright Bass & Cello on 3; Rasmus Kilberg: Drums; Lisa Nilsson: Vocals on For Your Love.