|Names? There had been a furtive announcement of their appearance in the specialist-magazines, but whatever happened wasn't given a mention in print. It was, however, an exceptional trio, led by someone praised to the skies by Henri Texier at the time: "Great sound, clean attack, lasting sound on each note, melodic intelligence and a sense of
tempo… Red Mitchell's got it all. He's done a lot for bass-liberation."
Keith Moore "Red" Mitchell was forty-two and had a remarkable list of achievements to his name; for starters, he'd worked with Red Norvo, Gerry Mulligan, Hampton Hawes, Shelly Manne, Harold Land and Dizzy Gillespie. Greatly upset by the successive assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, he decided to abandon The United States for good in 1968, and he moved to a country that had made neutrality its raison de vivre: Sweden. It was there that Red Mitchell formed this trio: with a twenty-four year-old pianist just back from an African tour with Stan Getz, Bobo Stenson – and you know what became of him later – and the drummer Rune Carlsson, who'd played with musicians as different as Eric Dolphy and Bill Evans; the trio was indeed exceptional, but it was (very) shortlived,
so much so that this album is the only trace of it. Recorded during a visit to Paris (a true miracle!), "One Long String" was the first album to do justice to the innovations that Red Mitchell brought to an instrument he was totally in love with… which is probably the truth, because they say he always asked for a room with two beds when he was touring,
so that he could tuck his bass in on one of them… He tuned it like a cello, in fifths, and he'd come up with an astute amplification system that extended the sound of the notes, establishing a legato in the melody line that people hadn't heard before on a bass.
None of these tunes is less than excellent, but if you had to pick one, then (quite subjectively) it would have to be Narbild, which has a deliciously Scandinavian flavor; it's a marvel of jazz chambermusic, and its resuscitation forty years later shows it's lost none of its freshness.