In a week or so, I will be heading to the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival. Now in its sixth year, the festival in this ancient town on the Baltic shore has become one of Europe’s prime summer music events. The schedule includes established international stars as well as dozens of European musicians, many of whom I’ll be hearing for the first time.
Among the visiting American performers will be pianist Robert Glasper’s trio, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, bassist Dave Holland in duo with pianist Kenny Barron, and Diane Reeves singing with the redoubtable Norrbotten Big Band. It’s always a pleasure to hear music, and go for long walks, in a setting like this.
In a separate concert, trumpeter Jan Allan will be guest soloist with the Norrbotten band. Going strong at 80, Allan (pictured) is one of Sweden’s best-known jazz players. Fifty years younger than Allan, the rising Norwegian tenor saxophonist Marius Neset will play with his quintet at the Ystad Theater.
The growing acceptance and equality of women in jazz is signified by the festival’s not making a big deal of the fact that only women populate two of the bands. The Dutch saxophonist Tineka Postma will lead a septet that includes the Australian/New York bassist Linda Oh, Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and women from a variety of other countries. Another band headed by German saxophonist Nicole Johänntgen is made up of women from several European countries and Japan. The schedule includes a return engagement by bassist Anne Marye Eggen’s three-quarters-women quartet called We Float, with Fanny Gunnarsson, piano; vocalist Linda Bergström; and drummer Filip Bensefelt. For a Rifftides review that mentions their 2014 Ystad appearance, among others, go here.
Pianist Jan Lundgren (pictured), who with Thomas Lantz founded the Ystad Festival, will play in at least three contexts, including a remembrance of Jan Johansson (1931-1968), one of the country’s pioneers of modern jazz piano. Lundgren’s tribute to Billie Holiday later in the week will include the veteran Norwegian singer Karin Krog.
Let’s listen to and watch Lundgren with bassist Jan Edefelt, guitarist Ewan Svensson, drummer Daniel Fredriksson, harmonicist Flip Jers and singers Isabella Lundgren (no relation) and Hannah Svensson. This was at a concert at the Jazzens Museum in Strömsholm, Sweden, about a year ago. Accustomed to 9-foot Steinways, Lundgren makes the most of the museum’s spinet.
To see the complete Ystad 2015 schedule, go here.
(The original post of this piece mistakenly included a photo of the neighboring Skåne County town of Trelleborg.)