|As a big band, the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra is not limited to the musical visions of only one arranger. On the contrary, its leader, trumpeter Fredrik Norén, extends regular invitations to the foremost big band arrangers and soloists world-wide to come and lend their flavour to the repertoire.
Since the 90´s the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra has worked with such well-known arrangers as Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer and Bob Brookmeyer. Getting them to come to Sweden for tours and recordings has never been hard – the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra is accepted as an extremely flexible and well-sounding big band. But then it is in principle made up of soloists, of strong personalities whose everyday activities include leading their own groups.
This method also makes the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra’s recordings quite different from one another. On "Tango," the Argentinian arranger Carlos Franzetti was given the task of translating several well-known classic tangos into a big band setting. At the same time, they invited the trumpeter Gustavo Bergalli and the bandoneon player Juan-Jos Mosalini to be soloists. The result is tango—both for the dance floor and the ears.
”Plays the music of Göran Strandberg vol 1” and “Plays the music and arrangements of Göran Strandberg vol 2” contain, as already revealed by the titles, mostly music by the member Göran Strandberg. He is a clever pianist, but also a clever composer and arranger, with one foot in tradition and the other in several places. This makes his compositions encompass everything from sharp Monk-like echoes, through strange rhythms and full steam ahead, to both pure and thoroughly composed sonorities. In all, it is a group of variations, full of life, that the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra plays to the hilt.
All the tunes on ”Homage to Mel Lewis and Thad Jones” are written by the big band giant, Thad Jones. The music fits the band like a glove. Ingmar Glanzelius wrote in Dagens Nyheter: ”from the very first note, you feel that these sixteen musicians have decided to drown the Fasching audience in warmth and rhythm” and ”Everything is wonderfully written with rainbow-like harmonisation; the notes are far from being constructions at the desk”.
Without a doubt ”Homage to Mel Lewis and Thad Jones” is Stockholm Jazz Orchestra’s best CD to date.