Ulf Wakenius - Love is Real (3 stars)

Ulf Wakenius - Love is Real

(ACT Records)


Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius follows his Keith Jarrett project Notes From the Heart with a disc devoted to the music of Esbjörn Svensson. Tragically, its release has coincided with the death of the Swedish pianist – who had been scheduled to play at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival this month with the hugely successful E.S.T. – in a scuba-diving accident last month. Svensson’s loss is a massive blow, and adds unlooked-for poignancy to this celebration of his music.

Wakenius has expanded the core trio from the Jarrett disc by adding pianist Lars Jansson, the radio.string.quartet.vienna (fresh from their recent Mahavishnu project) and several additional guests, including trombonist Nils Landgren, a frequent Svensson collaborator. The results are occasionally a little over-elaborate in terms of the arranging, but this is generally a thoughtful and enjoyable take on the pianist’s music, drawn from a range of E.S.T. projects.

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