Revival of the Big Band musical aesthetic certainly was a goal of Swedish composer/arranger and saxophonist Bernt Rosengren when he formed his big band in 1975. The recording here, a reissue, is of that 19-piece band made up of top-tier Swedish musicians along with American pianist Horace Parlan, who played with Charles Mingus, and guitarist Doug Raney, son of Jimmy Raney. And what a group to listen to!
As for the music they play, it’s exactly as Bernt describes the genre: “Big band jazz should be swinging and danceable. And the music must be built around soloists, just like the old Count Basie band of the 1930s.” Most all of the solo work on the album comes from Raney, Parlan, and Rosengren on tenor and alto sax, as well as flute on one track. A hallmark of great big bands is the interaction between a creative soloist and a tight ensemble, and all seven Rosengren originals on the album, plus fantastic arrangements of Irving Berlin’s “How Deep is the Ocean?” and John Coltrane’s “Naima”, shine with just such stellar musicality.
Hard-swinging, toe-tapping, dance-inducing music with a backbone of blues is something these guys can really play. Pick up this album if you love big band music. You will enjoy yourself listening to it!
Bernt Rosengren, saxophonist, flutist, composer and arranger, is one of Sweden’s most internationally known jazz musicians. He broke through as a 19-year-old and has since been at the forefront of Swedish jazz for more than 50 years.
Bernt has over the years inspired and played with several generations of Swedish jazz musicians. 1975 formed Bernt Rosengren his first big band. Before that, he mostly played in various small groups with many of the era’s finest jazz musicians. Many of these are included in the 19-strong big band heard on this recording. It has virtually the entire Swedish jazz elite from 70 – and 80’s but also a couple of very well-known American guests. Pianist Horace Parlan, with a history of such Charlie Mingus, and guitarist Doug Raney, one of the 70’s most acclaimed young American guitarists. Cooperation between Bernt and Americans had begun in Copenhagen a few years before this recording.
Horace and Doug were for several years more or less regulars in Bernt Rosengren Big Band. In the 70s, Bernt had in many ways tried to create gigs for big band. For example, he rented for several seasons dancing hall Bal Palais in Stockholm – a real success. It became a tradition which incidentally was then taken over by the Guggenheim Hedrenius Big Blues Band.
It was after these years of Bal Palais that Caprice Records recorded the band. The music is arranged by Bernt, who also composed seven of the disc’s nine tracks. The other two numbers is John Coltrane’s Naima and Irving Berling How Deep is the Ocean, known melodies Bernt has given a new musical outfit. In addition to Doug and Horace is mainly Bernt heard as a soloist on flute, alto and tenor saxophone.The fine trumpeter Lars Färnlöf is also a soloist on a track.
Bernt Rosengren – flute, alto and tenor sax
Horace Parlan – piano
Doug Raney – guitar
Bertil Lovgren, Tim Hagans, Maffy Falay, Lars Färnlöf – trumpets
Stanislav Cieslak, Lars Olofsson, Nils Landgren, Sven Larsson – trombones
Lennart Åberg, Peter Gullin – alto sax
Stefan Isaksson, Tommy Koverhult – tenor sax
Gunnar Bergsten – bariton sax
Hakan Nyquist – French horn
Torbjorn Hultcrantz – base
Leif Wennerstrom – drums.