This is the 5th album that Swedish guitarist made for Munich ACT label. But that time for the first time solo. Long time collaborator of the Jazz Giants, like Oscar Peterson or Herbie Hancock ,as well like his label mates like Lars Danielsson or Korean singer Youn Sun Nah. Their Duo recordings brought them the massive amount of followers, including writing these words.
The title brings one song to memory straight away. This is a unusual recording in many meanings. As artist says it is his special tribute to all these magic moments he was blessed to experience having a chance to play together with all the great musicians during his career. But choice of tracks shows that it goes deeper and also covers artist’s adoration for particular compositions related to personal life experience , that joy and sorrow life brings.
Opening Ballad for E. written by Magnus Öström for his Dear friend and band-mate Esbjorn Svensson is a perfect example here. This loss took this drummer out of music for two years after he recovered enough to get back on stage. It possesses enormous deposit of emotions which Ulf shares himself and his interpretation shows that.
The interesting thing is that a recording like this made on a few different instruments by virtuoso musician tells us a lot about techniques itself. Things more difficult to trace or just not appearing in a more thick group arrangements of the same music here become immediately audible.
The way he plays pieces like Momento Magico echoes Great, Great Egberto Gismonti to whom it is indubitable tribute. In Duo with Youn, to whom he dedicated this tune, this is her vocalisation that runs the piece. Here he has to be an Alpha and Omega , and he is.
Similarly things are with Danielsson’s Libretto. This is a peaceful and gentle composition based purely on the harmony and Lars’ articulation. Transferring this from Cello and Bass to the Guitar in the way which prevents original charm and quality is a very difficult task which again, guitarist fulfils brilliantly.
Pieces like Hindustan Blues, Mali On My Mind, The Dragon are all showing Ulf’s incredible openness and versatility. All inspired by folk from different parts of the world which are not difficult to guess. Some are surprising synthesis with western or American music. Some amaze me with his endless creativity. All of them are dedicated to the people who mean a lot to Ulf.
Esperanto for example pays tribute to Siggi Loch , labels’ boss , whose open mind and vast music interests is illustrated by piece of music like a cocktail of many influences , funky underlined by the tittle’s meaning. Preludio is a sweet miniature written for K.Jarrett. Sattie’s Gnossienne in Ulf’s interpretation appeared with a subtle Bossa rhythm giving the piece a brand Nova life.
Charles Trenet’s La Mer is one of this songs which brings a memory of France to your head , doesn’t matter one was there or just have seen it on the TV. It is such a incredibly beautiful melody that charm spells over us since 40-ties from the same strength.
All together this is a absolutely outstanding recording to me which brings new taste to music we all know well and Ulf’s own scores which are going to take you for most the exiting music adventure. Especially if you won’t forget the fact that you are listening here to a one man band. But.. what’’ the Man is He! Marvellous.