Recorded and mixed by Stefano Amerio in Italy on July 15th – 16th and November 1st 2013 Flowers of Sendai is released on the Bee Jazz label and here it’s been downloaded from HIGHRESAUDIO. The trio is made up of Jan Lundgren (piano), Mattias Svenson (bass) and Zoltan Csors JR (drums).
Style wise Flowers of Sendai is jazz of the accessible kind and not the kind of “challenging” jazz that you need a degree from the University of Cool to understand never mind enjoy.
The Jan Lundgren Trio highlights the melodic improvisation of Lundgren’s very accomplished piano playing of course, but when brought together with his band mates you are left with an album that is really quite beautiful in its complexity and intricacy. Now, that’s not to say that Lundgren hogs the limelight at all and the rest of the trio get their chance to shine somewhat too.
To be perfectly honest if you’d asked me twelve months or so ago to listen to this kind of laidback and somewhat cool jazz then you’d likely have been given very short shrift but the mellow style and superb musicianship (as demonstrated with this record) have me reaching for this style more and more. With Flowers of Sendai you’ve got a very modern sounding record that is still steeped in tradition and it’s a bit of a winner as far as my opinion goes.
The music here is never forced in any way and despite it being complex and really quite clever it’s music that you can get lost in quite easily without wanting to over analyse it or get all goatee stroking about.
There’s not a tune on the record that isn’t really enjoyable but the title track is particularly enjoyable despite it being just piano. There’s a simple (at times) left hand part with Lundgren creating interwoven, intricate and compelling melodies with his right. It’s clever but not clever for the sake of it and there’s a feeling that you’re listening to really great music and musicianship. Lundgren has a bit of a reputation in the world of jazz as being a really great pianist and I can fully understand where this reputation comes from. The playing is clearly accomplished and complicated but it really does sound like he’s not trying at all – everything flows, sounds natural and unforced.
Mulgrew is another standout track on a bit of a standout record for me but here the main focus is on the bass and the drums while the (still great) piano playing takes a bit of a back seat. The piano is still vital but there’s a fabulous bit of bass solo and a really great drum solo part that just lifts the record as a whole.
If you’re looking to impress your none audiophile friends with an album that will show off your system then this is one of those kinds of records. I put it on to when some old friends we’ve not seen for seven years visited yesterday and their jaws nearly hit the floor!
Accessible yet complex, clever yet deceptively simple sounding and well worth buying whether this is your kind of music or not. Out on 24th April.