Born in 1965, the strong-toned and expressive Swedish trumpeter Broo has long established himself in Scandinavia in the diversely evolving field of post-Coleman, free-touched jazz. He has often worked in collaboration with like-minded Norwegian musicians, as he does here: he and Flaten, for example, appeared together in the dynamic Norwegian-Swedish Atomic band formed in 1999 with a.o. the quicksilver Paal Nilssen-Love on drums (replaced in 2014 by Hans Hulbaekmo).
The title of this refreshingly short release would seem to signify a move away from matters of cross-phrased melodic and rhythmic freedom to the long-etched templates of some of the most enduring standards of the jazz canon. But if there there are moments in the initial, somewhat stately exposition of the opening You where the spirit of none other than Louis Armstrong comes to mind, the Cherry-like flurries in the development of Changed confirm the continuing presence of the spirit of free jazz – as does the underlying drone-like interplay here of tonally indeterminate arco and diversely nudging, cross-accented drums.
Some strong mallet work helps conjure the initial drama of Love but Johansen mostly stays with tasty brushes and Flaten is similarly committed to pizzicato lines: he offers a poetically spaced solo introduction to Explain and interacts particularly strongly with Flaten during Summertime. There are strong “up” tempo changes during the development of Living, and Love is taken at a crisp medium clip, swinging nicely. All in all, an intriguing bare-boned melding of the rule-bound and the exploratory, which compels attention the more you listen – even if I could have done without the final seconds of upper-register staccato squalling in Broo’s solo coda to Explain.
If I Should Lose You; Summertime; Easy Living; You’ve Changed; I Fall In Love Too Easily; Like Someone In Love; Don’t Explain (35.11)
Broo (t); Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b); Håkon Mjåset Johansen (d). Stockholm, 12 May 2017.
Moserobie Music MMP CD 114