The Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival is in its fourth day. It is so jam-packed and tightly scheduled that this is my first opportunity to begin reporting on it. The early posts will be a series of observations rather than full reviews. As always at this festival, things get underway with the Swedish variation on a traditional New Orleans street parade—making its way through the streets of this charming medieval town on the Baltic Sea.
The first evening, in the magnificent Ystad Theatre, three of Sweden’s best- known female jazz vocalists gave a concert accompanied by guitarist Ewan Svensson, bassist Mattias Svensson (no relation) and drummer Cornelia Nilsson. The singers, Vivian Buczek, Anna Pauline and Hannah Svensson (relation; she is Ewan’s daughter) performed in solo pieces, duets and trio numbers that imbued familiar standards and Swedish songs with rich harmonies and interwoven vocal lines. Ms. Pauline’s arrangements were notable for their harmonic subtlety.
(L to R) Hanna Svensson, Vivian Buczek, Ewan Svensson, Anna Pauline
If there is a report on the concert that Bill Mays and I performed on Wednesday, it will have to come from elsewhere. Journalistic objectivity and (ahem) modesty will allow me to say only that the audience was kind to us, even to the extent of demanding an encore. Of course, that alone is no great distinction; Ystad audiences inevitably insist on encores. Bill played at the top of his game. As always, it was a pleasure to work with him.