The American bassist and singer Kristin Korb has lived in Denmark the past two years. In her Per Helsas Gård concert, she included songs from her next album, Finding Home, about the effects of the move and the peace she has found in her marriage and her adopted country.
A protégé of the late Ray Brown, Ms. Korb’s bass playing is the foundation of her musicianship. She is an increasingly clever lyricist in the songs she writes, arranges and sings. “58 Boxes” was about “missing my stuff” during the weeks it was in transit from the US. She worked melodies from Miles Davis’s “All Blues” and references to James Brown’s “I Feel Good” into her introduction to Bob Dorough’s “Better Than Anything.” The lyric she set to “Groove Merchant” and her bass lines were perfect matches for the spirit and churchy harmonies of Jerome Richardson’s classic piece. Pianist Magnus Hjorth, played several impressive solos in the set. The other member of Korb’s trio, drummer Snorre Kirk, was buoyantly propulsive throughout.
In the first of his two appearances, the Ystad Festival’s artistic director Jan Lundgren and his trio hosted Grégoire Maret. The Swiss harmonica player is often mentioned as the new Toots Thielemans, the instrument’s modern jazz pioneer. Lundgren alternated solo and trio pieces with those that featured Maret. Veterans Jesper Lundgaard, on bass, and drummer Alex Riel played together in the pianist’s first trio. The rapport they established with him in the 1990s has, if anything, deepened. Their backing of Maret in “Velas,” Brazilian composer Ivan Lins’ tribute to Thielemans, had a blend of rhythmic muscle and lyrical sensibility that matched Maret’s interpretation. In “The Man I Love,” one of the pieces on Lundgren’s forthcoming solo album, Maret played in response to Riel’s drum figures. The two took the music beyond the edge of Gershwin’s harmonies, which inspired further adventuring by the quartet as they went out in a long, leisurely tag ending based on one chord.
In a Wall Street Journal article today about the festival and the state of jazz in Sweden, I cover Lundgren’s other performance in Ystad. The Journal is available at newsstands and, to WSJ subscribers, online.