Nils Landgren: 3 Generations

Swedish trombonist and crooner Landgren leads a three-CD, JATP-styled set that is effectively a tribute to the ACT label's 30-year history

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ACT celebrates its 30th anniversary with this big release headlined by label stalwart Nils Landgren. Signed to the label in 1994, Landgren has had a huge influence in both recording and production, so it seems apt that this three-CD set is produced by label founder Siggi Loch and Landgren himself.

The 30 tracks listed showcase an impressive array of talent that ACT has signed over the years. Listening to the music, its like the ACT equivalent of Norman Granz’s JATP events, where big name after big name would turn up to perform. Across three days in Berlin, Landgren was joined by a seemingly endless conveyer belt of musicians – names that will be familiar to anyone who has enjoyed ACT recordings over the years.

It’s a breezy, accessible collection of material – some of it previously released, but a lot of it new or previously unheard – with Landgren juggling performances on trombone with some crooning of popular songs. Joined by the likes of Ida Sand, Michael Wollny, Viktoria Tolstoy, Adam Baldych, Lars Danielsson, Anna Greta and Iiro Rantala, Landgren reveals just how at home he is with a wide range of performers and styles, which in turn emphasises the broad sweep of music ACT offers, and how it is likely to continue this development beyond the current anniversary.

With so much to choose from, standout tracks for me would include Sondheim’s Send In The Clowns – a duet performance with Michael Wollny on piano, and Caecile Norby’s take on Trent Reznor’s Hurt, which Johnny Cash pretty much made his own. The only slightly self-congratulatory feeling that creeps into things is on the very last track, Young At Heart. A tiny bit cheesy, with a Christmas jumper and logs on the fire feel to it, it is listenable enough, but there was way better material available to bring such a fine celebration to an end.

With its huge cast list of contributors and a good range of material and musical styles, this fitting celebration of a label I have come to thoroughly enjoy reviewing for Jazz Journal over the years proves that ACT’s original philosophy of “open ears, open minds” will surely endure.

Discography
CD1: Let’s ACT Together; Little Jump; You Are A Friend Of Mine; White Moon; Eternal Beauty; Lenny; Hurt; Gam M A Fäbodpsalm; Send In The Clowns; Greta (40.48)
CD2: Dear Diary; Hide And Seek; Danny’s Dream; Bizarre;The Return Of Mohammed; Mountain; Olu; Fire And Rain; Riverendings; My Heart (47.01)
CD3: Weltall; And So It Goes; Blue Corner; Mosaïque Bleu; Modal Submission; Früchte; Doll Of The Bride; Silent Way; Don’t Stop; Young at Heart (46.15)
Landgren (tb, v) and others. Berlin, 7-9 June 2022.
ACT 9958-2