Before long, the Rifftides staff will be flying to Europe for the 2017 Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival. As always, the festival lineup will include prominent visiting American artists. Among them are tenor saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Joshua Redman, trumpeter Tim Hagans, drummer Al Foster and guitarist Al Di Meola.
In addition, the Ystad artistic director, pianist Jan Lundgren, has engaged some of Europe’s intriguing young musician—and a few older ones. For instance, the veteran pianists Louis van Dijk of Holland and Iiro Rantala of Finland will perform in separate solo concerts. Lundgren himself will appear twice, first in a duo with a fellow Swede, the celebrated trombonist Nils Landgren. Later in the week, Lundgren will perform with his Potsdamer Quartet of Scandinavian all-stars. Also exploring the freedom allowed in duets will be the seasoned Swedish artists pianist Bobo Stenson and saxophonist/ flutist Lennart Åberg.
Returning to the festival after five years will be the Japanese pianist Hiromi, in a duo with the Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda. Reviewing her previous Ystad performance, I described Hiromi as a whirlwind. Castañeda’s virtuosity is said to match hers. Maybe we can expect a double whirlwind. Another duo concert (do I detect a trend?) will be by Swedish bassist Hans Backenroth and Danish guitarist Jacob Fischer. Other performances to anticipate:
- Three Swedish singers in tribute to the late Swedish diva Monica Zetterlund, with Jan Lundgren at the piano.
- Trumpeter Bobby Medina, an American musician tightly connected to Sweden, featured with the XL Big Band.
- Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen with the style-bending group David’s Angels led by bassist David Carlsson.
- The energy and drive of tenor saxophonist Håkan Broström and his new big band, the New Places Orchestra.
- Soprano saxophonist Karolina Almgren moving into a leadership role with a quintet that includes a cello.
- The New York band called The Rad Trads playing a concert in the ancient courtyard of Per Helsas gård after leading the festival’s opening parade through the streets of Ystad.
To see the complete schedule, go here.
In what may be considered a preview of the Ystad festival, let’s hear saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi with trumpeter Tim Hagans at last year’s jazz festival in Copenhagen, up the road from Ystad and into Denmark by way of a long bridge and a tunnel under an arm of the Baltic Sea. Bergonzi’s fellow tenor saxophonist is Thomas Franck of Sweden. Carl Winther is on piano, Johnny Åman on bass, Anders Mogensen on drums. All of them but Franck will be in with Bergonzi in Ystad. They play “Scorpio Dance.”
Although the Czech pianist Emil Viklický will not perform in Ystad, he and Jan Lundgren played together in the Czech city of Brno earlier this year. We leave you for now with them reprising the Swedish song “Emigrantvisa,” often called “They Sold Their Homestead.” Viklicky is on the left of your screen.
See you in Ystad, I hope.