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Norrbotten Big Band: Norrbotten Big Band (Featuring Georg "Jojje" Wadenius)

I have just lately became more familiar with Sweden's Norrbotten Big Band. The band is based in LuleŚ, in the north of Sweden and as the liner notes state the NBB just might be "the northernmost professional big band in the world."

For their most recent endeavor band leader and artistic director Joakim Milder reached out to famed Swedish guitarist Georg "Jojje" Wadenius (Blood, Sweat and Tears) with the intention of celebrating the then seventy year old musician with an album. Eight composers, including Milder contributed one track each and Wadenius supplies guitar on every track. These tracks are also long and even though there is only nine tunes they are spread over two discs with a total playing time of around ninety-two minutes. Highlights on the first disc include the grooving "In The Pocket" with some fantastic call and response between guitar and alto sax, the bluesy guitar work in "Light Blue & Purple" and the pretty melody in the calming and reflective "Torshavn By Night" with its gentle trombone, sax and guitar although at times the music becomes intense like the ripping trombone and tenor sax solos being prime examples.

The second disc has four tracks, each around ten minutes in length leading off with "Underground", often lending quieter soundscapes with the occasional burst of full band intensity. The flugelhorn, guitar and bass solos are at the top of their class. "Music From The Jilted" features fabulous horns including some deliciously low trombone lines and more introspective soundscapes. The album ends with the bluesy "Snakes In A Hole", originally written by Wadenius in 1969 and is the only track to feature vocals. It's only suitable the album end with such a rousing big band offering and the piano solo is great as well.

Quality jazz music, both melodic and exploratory with some fabulous guitar playing throughout. This one is a winner! Track Listing:
CD 1
1. The Traveler (9:48)
2. Light Blue & Purple (7:56)
3. The Wadenius Strut (10:32)
4. In The Pocket (11:01)
5. Torshavn By Night (11:25)

CD 2
1. Underground (11:44)
2. Music From The Jilted (10:19)
3. Just Now, Just Then (10:00)
4. Snakes In A Hole (9:46)

Added: September 14th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 442
Language: english

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