Jonas Kullhammar – Basement Sessions Volume 3 (The Ljubljana Tapes) (CF 308)
Recorded in 2013, Jonas Kullhammar’s “Basement Sessions volume 3: The Ljubljana Tapes” is a live concert, featuring Kullhammar, Jorgen Mathisen on tenor, Torbjorn Zettberg on bass, and Espen Aalberg on drums.
“Basement,” composed by Mathisen, is a high energy track that gets everyone hitting on all cylinders, Aalberg and Zettberg providing a solid, toe tapping hard bop rhythm, with Kullhammar and Mathisen synchronizing the lead. It is very spiritual, and evokes mid 60’s Coltrane. “Allting kan ga itu” is a Kullhammar tune, very Dolphy esque, the saxophones going up and down the keys, before moving into a Zombies “Time of the Season” rhythm with saxes playfully on top of the beat. “Master of What” is a more contemplative, slightly somber tune by Zettberg, with the group establishing a theme, then Kullhammar or Mathisen alternating solos, each doing variations of the theme, then playing together. “Fresk Baglaens” is a funky hard bop tune, Zettberg providing a deep bottom with the bass, a sax keeping the rhythm while the other does a free improv solo. Toe tapping ear candy goodness, with a nice drum solo by Aalberg. “Rough 2” has that old Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers swagger, a medium tempo, low key swing that, once the theme is established, passes off to long stretching solos by each horn player, then back to the theme. Very old school, yet refreshing. The album ends with “Sekar Jepun,” a low key mood piece that again evoke’s Coltrane, spiritual yet somber.
Kullhammar’s group has really taken the music from the past and made it contemporary, evoking, yet never imitating. Their own personal cultural heritage, as well as incorporating modern improvisation esthetics, have helped to create their own sound. One surprising thing about this album is how short it is — less than 43 minutes. That may be a good thing. It does leave you wanting for more — but that problem is solved by going back to the other two volumes in this series. Another fine effort by this group.