This is the place where FoJL puts anything new, topical, curious or just plain odd that we see about Jan. If you come across something that you think would interest Jan’s fans, like an album review or an interview (in any language – it doesn’t have to be in English), send an email to email@example.com, and we’ll post a story or link here. For older Updates, go to the Archive page. You might also want to give our Facebook page a try.
14 May 2017: Back to nature
A quick reminder to anyone who hasn’t yet noticed that Jan Lundgren Trio’s mini-classic from 2003, Svenska Landskap, was reissued by our friends at Fog Arts last weekend (5 May) for streaming and downloading on all good digital patforms worldwide. It’s also received a warm review from FoJL’s equally good friend, Tennessee-based blogger Anton Garcia-Fernandez, in his 12 May Jazz Flashes post, in which Anton describes Svenska Landskap as a “masterful melding of jazz and Scandinavian folk music”. You can read the piece here.
If you want to remind yourself exactly why Svenska Landskap is such a great album, just type “Jan Lundgren Trio” or “Svenska Landskap” into the search function of your favourite streaming or downloading portal, like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes or Amazon, and have another listen. You’ll also find all the original liner notes – in English as well as Swedish – on the dedicated album page at Fog Arts’ website: Svenska Landskap.
27 March 2017: Four hands good
It was a pretty intensive gig schedule for Jan last week, dominated by four consecutive nights that began in Oslo on Thursday with Scott Hamilton, Karin Krog, Hans Backenroth and Kristian Leth performing material from their The Best Things In Life album (2015, Stunt). And last Tuesday saw another of Jan’s solo outings, ‘Music and memories’, at Vimmerby in the Swedish county of Småland – “It’s always nice to do that one” he tells us.
Then, on Wednesday (22 March), Jan gave a duo concert with Czech pianist Emil Viklicky at the concert hall in Brno, Czech Republic. “It went really well, both musically and audience-wise” Jan reports. “The 500-seat house was sold out, so the organisers added another 50 standing places. The crowd and the venue were wonderful, and it turned out to be a super-nice way to spend my 51st birthday.”
Emil dropped FoJL a line afterwards too. “The concert was a great success, and Jan and I had a ball. That kind of night doesn’t happen very often – the interplay was very inspired.” Emil also sent us the links to a couple of filmed excerpts from the concert that have been posted on YouTube (where, by the way, you’ll find many other clips of his trio and other performances). So here are Lundgren (right) and Viklicky working their four-handed magic with a lovely Moravian folk song arranged by Emil.
21 March 2017: Shades of Jolly and Hallberg
Tomorrow night in Brno, Czech Republic, Jan joins forces with Emil Viklicky for a double piano concert. It’s an unusual line-up, but not an unprecedented one; long-time fans of Jan will be well aware of his double piano collaborations in the past – first with Pete Jolly (on the 2001 album, Collaboration) and, second, with Bengt Hallberg (Back To Back, 2011). “Emil was originally booked to perform with fellow Czech pianist Karel Ruzicka, but he died last September” Jan explains. “Rather than cancel the gig, Emil invited me to step in for Karel, which I regard as a great honour.”
“Viklicky and Ruzicka are/were the finest Czech jazz pianists of their generation. Emil shares my own interest in the reinterpretation of folk music in a jazz idiom, so the audience can expect some traditional Czech and Swedish songs, and I’m sure we’ll do a few standards and improvisations too. I’ve never worked with Emil before, so I’m really looking forward to it. And, inevitably, this collaboration brings back happy memories of playing with both Pete and Bengt.”
9 March 2017: Potsdamer in Poland
After being dribbled out in Scandinavia at the end of January, Potsdamer Platz, the new Jan Lundgren European Quartet album, was fully released by ACT in the closing days of February. A number of post-release gigs have been lined up for the Quartet (featuring saxophonist Jukka Perko, Dan Berglund on bass and drummer Morten Lund), the first of which took place in Szczecin, Poland, on 2 March. As Jan reported on his official Facebook page: “It was a very nice first concert in a beautiful new concert hall. I really adore playing in Poland, where the love for jazz is immense – as is respect for the arts generally. Stanko, Komeda, Szulaski, Namyslowski, Urbaniak, Makowicz and Seifert to name just a few: they’ve given Poland such a strong reputation that’s been continued up to today by a long string of wonderful younger generations.”
13 February 2017: As fresh as ever
On Saturday night in Malmö, Jan kicked off a new series of Tribute to Jan Johansson concerts for 2017 with Mattias Svensson on bass and a string quartet (whose composition regularly changes, depending on where and when the gigs are happening – see our 22 July 2016 story at Conversations).
“It’s always such a joy performing with Mattias and the quartet, and yesterday’s sold-out Palladium concert was no exception” Jan tells us. “Mattias, who’s been very busy lately taking care of his family, which now includes his two recently-born sons Valentine and Melvin, played better than ever. The always great-sounding string quartet also delivered a fine performance, consisting last night of Australian/Austrian Joanna Lewis, Costa Rican/Austrian Emily Stewart, and the Swedish sisters Karolina Weber Ekdahl and Charlotta Weber Widerström. All of them are terrific musicians.”
“It’s now two years since the project started and one year since The Ystad Concert was released. But still it feels so fresh every time.”
13 January 2017: Listen again
Today sees the fourth digital reissue by Fog Arts of some of Jan’s early albums for the now-defunct Sittel label. It’s Jan Lundgren Trio’s For Listeners Only from 2001, and features Jan, Mattias Svensson (bass) and Rasmus Kilhberg (drums) grooving their way through a combination of eight Lundgren originals, plus a ninth by Mattias. The record was actually released on the same day as Jan Lundgren Trio Plays The Music Of Victor Young (also reissued by Fog Arts last September), and turned out to be a pretty big seller. Jan still plays several of the tracks on For Listeners Only at his trio concerts today, including Time to leave again in particular. As with Fog Arts’ previous reissues, the album is available for streaming and downloading on all the major digital platforms worldwide: Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer and eMusic, to name just a few.