30 September 2014: See you there, Jan
As you can see above, a fun little video popped up on YouTube yesterday. It’s been published by the Jarsasum International Jazz Festival (below), and features a few words from Jan in English about his upcoming concert on Saturday. Flowers of Sendai is rattling away in the background, of course, but what is Jan actually playing on the piano? There’s a prize for the first Friend who emails firstname.lastname@example.org with the right answer… although the prize isn’t, we’re sorry, an all-expenses paid trip to Korea this weekend. It’s more timeless than that: a CD of the Flowers Of Sendai album, signed by Jan himself. Something to keep and treasure forever!
24 September 2014: Korea here we come!
In a quick catch-up earlier today, Jan talked to FoJL about how much he’s looking forward to his next ‘big’ concert. It’s on 4 October at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in Korea, located on a river right in the middle of the peninsula. The Festival is in its eleventh year, and it’s a really prestigious event in the international jazz calendar. “Jarasum is something else” says Jan. “The Festival and its audience are fantastic, and the way it’s organised is truly professional. I’m very excited about performing again in Korea, which is such a beautiful and special country.” Jan’s in a line-up on the Saturday afternoon which consists of jive-mastering Mattias Svensson on bass, erstwhile EST drummer and percussionist Magnus Öström (a late change to the programme), and the inimitable Grégoire Maret on harmonica. FoJL wonders: isn’t Korea rather a long way to go for a gig that’s scheduled to last less than an hour? “Sure” admits Jan. “But Jarasum is unique, so it’s worth it!”
24 September 2014: Full-bodied Flowers
Two new reviews have emerged of JLT’s Flowers Of Sendai for our Swedish-speaking Friends. The first appears in today’s Ystads Allehanda newspaper – YA Flowers review – and sees a 5-star-wielding Sven Bjerstedt particularly impressed by the “full-bodied harmonic sophistication” of Jan’s compositions Man in the fog, Alone for you and Parfait amour. The second, very short – but still 4-star – review was published in Göteborgs Posten on 30 May (oops – sorry that took us so long to discover!), and calls the album “piano jazz in its most delicious form”.
18 September 2014: Easily found
Jan’s magnificent new solo album, All By Myself, is now available as a download on iTunes – and at Amazon. We mention it because FoJL’s had a few emails in recent days from Friends who’ve asked where they can buy a copy of the album. If you prefer the real thing to a download, you can order the CD direct from Fresh Sound’s website, or you can simply buy it in the old-fashioned way if you’re lucky enough to live near a decent record shop. But it’s good to know that iTunes is now selling All By Myself, since it offers another option in the sometimes challenging task of finding Jan’s CDs. Don’t forget, too, that you can stream the entire album on Spotify.
17 September 2014: You kind of heard it here first
If you’ve been ambling around the internet, perhaps casually visiting the websites of record labels that have issued Jan’s material in the past, you may have come across this particular set of tour dates that has not yet appeared on janlundgren.com. And you might have thought to yourself “Oh, that’s interesting. Jan’s doing four concerts with Galliano and Fresu early in the new year which I hadn’t heard about. Humm, I must see if I can get tickets…”. But then you notice that the first gig on the list isn’t the Mare Nostrum line-up; instead, the schedule says “Wolfgang Haffner, Dan Berglund, Jan Lundgren, Schlagwerker der Berliner Philharmoniker u.a.”, and you think “Wow! What on earth is that?!” (Well, this is exactly what happened at FoJL yesterday.)
To refresh your memory, Wolfgang Haffner is a massively accomplished German jazz drummer; Swede Dan Berglund was the bassist in the monstrously successful Esbjörn Svensson Trio; and the ‘Schlagwerker’ of the Berlin Philharmonic – probably the world’s greatest symphony orchestra, let’s not forget – are the percussionists. Double wow!
So an excited FoJL tracked Jan down and found out that there’s more to this project than just a one-off gig in Berlin. “Er, didn’t I mention it before?” says a slightly sheepish Mr Lundgren. “It’s called A Kind Of Cool and it’s a celebration of what’s commonly referred to as ‘cool jazz’. You know, a tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue and the work of the Modern Jazz Quartet.”
“Ah, and perhaps I also forgot to tell you that we recorded an album of the material in Germany back in August. It includes some standards like So what and My funny valentine, as well as a couple of compositions by Wolfgang. There weren’t any Berlin Philharmonic percussionists at the session, I’m afraid, but we’ve got superb flugelhorn, vibraphone and alto sax players instead.”
The album will be released on the ACT label to coincide with the Berlin concert on 10 December. So don’t say no-one told you…
16 September 2014: How many?!
Jan’s just sent us an SMS – which is what the Swedes call a text message, in case you’re confused – with the news that Can you please? has passed the 500,000 streaming mark on Spotify (see our 3 September and earlier Updates). Amazing, isn’t it?
16 September 2014: Another one for our Spanish speakers
An email has arrived from Anton Garcia-Fernandez, Tennessee-based Friend of Jan Lundgren, and author of The Vintage Bandstand and Postales de Jazz blogs we told you about on 3 August and 2 September below. He writes: “Thought you might like to know that I’ve adapted The Vintage Bandstand interview I did with Jan in August for the Spanish-language website Versos e Alouminos. There are one or two additional bits of information about Jan’s work that might interest FoJL’s Spanish-speaking members in this combined literature and music blog…”. Thank you, Anton; much appreciated.
12 September 2014: It’s OK, we’ve got it
René Hess, Jan’s manager, has kindly sent us a PDF of the elusive Jazz’N’More interview that we were looking for yesterday (see the story below). We assume that René subscribes to the journal, given that he’s Swiss. But perhaps not, since he’s based in Lausanne which, as every committed neutral will know, is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland… and Jazz’N’More is published in German. Never mind; the important thing is that you can now read the entire interview here on FoJL: JNM Lundgren article. Let’s mark this happy event with a photo of the lovely town of Lausanne.
11 September 2014: One for the Swiss
We’re told that there’s a two-page article about Jan in the latest edition of Jazz’N’More, the Swiss jazz and blues magazine based in Zurich. Which means that it’s in German – great! The trouble is, we haven’t actually got a copy of the piece, and the journal’s website is distinctly reluctant to part with Jazz’N’More’s treasures without first being handed mountain-sized lumps of cash. You can’t blame them, of course, but it does mean that you’ll just have to take our word for the article’s existence. Or perhaps a PDF will emerge on janlundgren.com at some point. Or, better still, one of the kind Friends of Jan Lundgren will risk eternal copyright damnation and email penurious FoJL an illicit photocopy?
10 September 2014: Another five stars
A second 5-star review has popped up of Jan’s All By Myself. It’s been written by Jan Olsson, and it appears on the Swedish jazz website, DIG Jazz. An enthusiastic Mr Olsson calls the album a “Swedish jazz classic” which places Jan “in the same division as his sadly departed colleagues, Bengt Hallberg and Jan Johansson”. Praise indeed. We’ve also found a new review (in French) of JLT’s Flowers Of Sendai on the Jazz Hot website. You can read the PDF here, Jazz Hot Flowers review, or go to the relevant web page (but you’ll have to scroll down rather a long way to reach the article).
8 September 2014: A certain Swedish style
Marc Myers, one-man global content provider to the popular music industry and author of essential US blog JazzWax, has published a long interview with Jan in his 8 September entry (you’ll need to skip to previous pages on JazzWax as this FoJL story begins to date). As well as briefly discussing his early jazz influences, Jan explores the reasons for jazz’s dominance of popular music in Sweden during the ’50s and early ’60s, and muses out loud on whether there’s a distinctive Swedish style to his and his compatriots’ playing.
4 September 2014: One for our German speakers
The September edition of the highly respected German magazine, PIANONews, has a four-page interview with Jan. You can read it here (as a black & white PDF): PIANONews Sep 2014. Among the panoply of subjects Jan discusses in the interview are the connections between classical music and jazz, how he’s been influenced by other pianists, the areas that provide Jan with his inspiration, the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival and, well, lots and lots of other interesting things. We haven’t seen an extended interview with Jan in German for a long time, so we’re delighted to have come across this article.
3 September 2014: 400,000… and counting
Following on from our 28 August story, Jan has emailed FoJL to let us know that Can you please?, Mattias’ composition on I Love Jan Lundgren Trio, passed the 400,000 mark yesterday in terms of total Spotify streamings. Wow! No wonder Mr Svensson is looking so happy in this photo…
2 September 2014: Hola Juan Lundgren Trio!
Anton Garcia-Fernandez, author of the excellent US jazz blog The Vintage Bandstand (see our 3 August story below), has just published a thoughtful analysis of the classic Jan Lundgren Trio album, Swedish Standards (from 1997, in case you’d forgotten). The piece appears on the Spanish-language website, Postales de Jazz. Anton ponders the age-old question of why so many Scandinavian musicians have such a high standing within the jazz world, and cites Swedish Standards as a modern example of the special qualities that artists like Jan bring to the genre.
1 September 2014: Liner notes Grammy?
We’ve just heard that Doug Ramsey’s superlative liner notes for All By Myself, Jan’s new solo album, have been submitted for a possible Grammy nomination. As Doug (pictured) points out in his 29 August post at Rifftides, a submission to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is not the same thing as a nomination. But it’s still a pleasing recognition of the notes’ quality and erudition.