The American bassist and singer Kristin Korb has lived in Denmark the past two years. In her Per Helsas GÃ¥rd 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 protÃ©gÃ© of the late Ray Brown, Ms. Korbâ€™s bass playing is the foundation of her musicianship. She is an increasingly clever lyricist in the songs she writes, arranges and sings. â€œ58 Boxesâ€ was about â€œmissing my stuffâ€ during the weeks it was in transit from the US. She worked melodies from Miles Davisâ€™s â€œAll Bluesâ€ and references to James Brownâ€™s â€œI Feel Goodâ€ into her introduction to Bob Doroughâ€™s â€œBetter Than Anything.â€ The lyric she set to â€œGroove Merchantâ€ and her bass lines were perfect matches for the spirit and churchy harmonies of Jerome Richardsonâ€™s classic piece. Pianist Magnus Hjorth, played several impressive solos in the set. The other member of Korbâ€™s trio, drummer Snorre Kirk, was buoyantly propulsive throughout.
In the first of his two appearances, the Ystad Festivalâ€™s artistic director Jan Lundgren and his trio hosted GrÃ©goire Maret. The Swiss harmonica player is often mentioned as the new Toots Thielemans, the instrumentâ€™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 pianistâ€™s first trio. The rapport they established with him in the 1990s has, if anything, deepened. Their backing of Maret in â€œVelas,â€ Brazilian composer Ivan Linsâ€™ tribute to Thielemans, had a blend of rhythmic muscle and lyrical sensibility that matched Maretâ€™s interpretation. In â€œThe Man I Love,â€ one of the pieces on Lundgrenâ€™s forthcoming solo album, Maret played in response to Rielâ€™s drum figures. The two took the music beyond the edge of Gershwinâ€™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 Lundgrenâ€™s other performance in Ystad. The Journal is available at newsstands and, to WSJ subscribers, online.