Alexander Brott: The Aesthetic Attitude

Fluent Swedish/Canadian jazz guitarist resident in New York produces an enjoyable slice of bebop preservation

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Brott is a Swedish/Canadian jazz guitarist who lives in New York. After the pandemic hit, he had a week in quarantine and began to compose, drawing on his favourite composers: Tadd Dameron, Duke Ellington, Elmo Hope, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk.

He soon had enough songs for an album, which he named after a book he was reading by Simone de Beauvoir, about “engaging with the world in an artistic way and escaping the burdens of life through art”, he explains. As colleagues he chose some of his favourite New York musical partners: Stefano Doglioni on bass clarinet, Ari Roland on bass and Keith Balla on drums.

The result is a very enjoyable example of what could be called bebop preservation/re-creation. The compositions are pleasantly boppish contrafacts of standards loved by musicians of that era. Brott is a fluent soloist, and there are blues, Rhythm changes and lots of work for those like the present writer who are forgetful of the titles of standards they’ve heard many times before.

Part of the bebop preservation aesthetic is Slam Stewart-style bowed bass, and Brott’s guitar is one of the wide variety of semi-acoustics. An authority who listened to the disc thought that he was recorded with a mic pointed at the guitar and another one pointed at the amplifier. There’s a long, attractive thematic drum solo on Sisyphus. Nothing too challenging then, but a worthwhile release.

Discography
Mosaic; Hopeless; D.S.; Shake; Milano’s; The Aesthetic Attitude; Just A Moon; Sisyphus; Day Off (39.33)
Brott (g); Stefano Doglioni (bcl); Ari Roland (b); Keith Balla (d). Mount Vernon, NY, December 2020.
Swing Alley SA 045