Ewan Svensson: Conversations & One Day In March

Swedish guitarist duets with himself on standards and leads his trio in swinging originals sometimes suggesting Pat Metheny

587

I first heard Swedish guitarist Ewan Svensson on Two Generations: Some Favourite Things, the fine duo album he cut with his daughter, the singer Hannah Svensson. The initial admiration I felt for Ewan’s playing was confirmed by some appearances at the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival as well as by two further excellent sessions with his daughter in a quality group which included pianist Jan Lundgren: the 2019 Places And Dreams and the 2023 release The Other Way Around.

Hannah supplies an appropriate cover image for the solo Conversations, its blend of clearly delineated yet mysterious profile and painterly surround a perfect parallel to Ewan’s synthesis of clean-cut formal command and exploratory venture. This solo session of delicious, overdubbed yet always lucid duets with himself features some of Ewan’s favourite compositions, each a classic of long standing but each refreshed by adroit melodic, harmonic and rhythmic creativity from a player who can sting as well as caress. Sample, e. g., the ringing beauty of his sound and the flowing interplay of his chordal and rhythmic figures on I Love You and Sweet And Lovely, the brief harmonics in the coda to I Should Care or the cooking excitement of Solar.

One Day In March sees the breadth and depth of such creativity unfold further in a trio setting with the accomplished Yasuhito Mori (b) and Magnus Gran (d). Thirty or so years together have produced eight well-received trio albums and the group empathy here is most impressive. With the exception of Lars-Ake’s Adiel’s Sleep Little Dog, all the compositions are by Svensson, revealing an enviable capacity to traverse a wide yet integrated range of storytelling atmosphere or mood.

If the melodic spirit of Pat Metheny is at times in the air – sample the lovely, laidback yearning measures of Some Day – Svensson’s subtly modulated sound and special blend of chordal and linear elements plus diversified rhythmic command remain ever present. And in fact, overall, I prefer Svensson’s sound to that cultivated by Metheny in recent years.

Above all, this Swede likes to mix his lyricism with a diverse, commanding take on matters of contemporary swing: hear the medium-up groove and burning (yet breathing) clip of the driving title track, Wednesday Night and The End Of The Day, or the switch from a potent back-beat to more fluid measures in New Morning. Throughout, Mori and Gran are deep in the pocket, helping make One Day In March an album as captivating and compelling as the superb painting by Reimar Karlsson which graces its cover.


Discography
[Conversations] Everything I Love; Sweet And Lovely; But Beautiful; I Love You; Emily; I Should Care; Long Ago And Far Away; Darn That Dream; How Deep Is The Ocean; A Weaver Of Dreams; Solar (38.40)
Svensson (elg). Falkenberg, spring 2021.
ESMCD 2105
[One Day In March] Looking Forward; For JA; Sleep Little Dog; One Day In March; Soon; Some Day; Piece V; Wednesday Night; New Morning; Early Hour; The End Of This Day (57.19)
Svensson (elg, g); Yasuhito Mori (b); Magnus Gran (d). Gothenburg, 9 March 2023.
ESMCD2 306