|This album was conceptualized when Ulf Wakenius was invited in 2003 to play with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the award ceremony of the Polar Prize to Keith Jarrett in Stockholm. A love for the beauty of compositions that Jarrett no longer performs in his own concerts developed inside Wakenius after this event.
“He is one of the three great piano players in my book of music. Number one is Oscar Peterson, of course. Then there’s Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Since I have many times paid tribute to Oscar Peterson on several of my ten solo albums, I decided to focus on Jarrett this time”, explains Wakenius. But it would have been naturally impossible to transcribe Jarrett pieces for a guitar trio including ACT label-mate Lars Danielsson on double bass, cello and piano, and the gifted drummer Morten Lund. Therefore Ulf Wakenius reinvented the songs by following a less-is-more attitude regarding the quantity of notes.
“As Miles Davis once said: ‘Don’t waste any notes’”, citing the trumpet player in his famous hoarse voice. And he shows what notes from the heart means: “You should play every note the way you really mean it. Every note is a statement, and you should not think too much. It is by preparing too much that you will fail in most cases. Follow your impulses. I know if I plan to play this or that chord I’ll mess it up, but if I just play from the heart, it is like a conversation. You respond to the question. It could be any topic. And conversation takes you to places. You can never pre-plan that. That is called in America ‘keep the band on their toes’, meaning that you should never know what is going on. That gives the element of surprise and freshness.”
And what is further important for a good conversation? Putting emphasis on the melodies and the groove: “These are key ingredients. It is important to play good melodies. We are living in an information society, everything goes so fast. Good melodies have a calming effect on the mind.” And if he wants ballads to sound as mellow and lovely as possible he uses the nylon strings.