Mar 4 2013
There is a deliberate pace to the new recording by the Elin Larsson Group that is exquisitely satisfying, a careful preponderance of cadence and ferocity that makes this a winning album. Especially in the context of their 2011 release Let You In, which was a little ball of excitement that kept a brisk pace, but which left me wistful for an album that toned done some of the herky-jerky motions, and, instead, settle into something of a casual groove.
On their 2013 release Growing Up, the Elin Larsson Group takes things nice and slow. Well, relatively speaking, that is. It should be mentioned that this doesn’t reflect a tamping down of the fiery music that so enamored me to their previous release. There is still plenty of heat.
Your album personnel: Elin Larsson (saxophones), Kristian Persson (trombone), Henrik Hallberg (guitar), Niklas Wennström (double bass), and Johan Käck (drums).
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Opening track “Falling Into Pieces” gives ample proof of the prevailing heat on this recording… but even here, the expressions of melody allow for a slight depression on the gas pedal, and this provides just a faint hint of contrast that goes a long way to supplying the kind of texture to keep the ear intrigued.
Second track “Monster” displays the formidable touch and easy pace that kicks this recording up a notch. Not a ballad by any means, but there is an easy sway to the music, in that way waves can appear languid atop rough seas. So that even when the temperature rises, the pace of the music maintains a restrained pace. It’s an appealing juxtaposition.
And tracks like “Slowly Slipping Out of My Hands” continue the gentler pace adopted for this recording, as well as “Endings,” which opens with a languid guitar drift, sounding like early Bill Frisell. When sax and trombone enter, they appear completely at ease with the ethereal interface.
It should also be mentioned that the tempo does get the heart racing at times. “It’s Gonna Be Okay” speeds right along, and it makes for a nice contrast to the more deliberate pace of prior tracks. But even here the track takes it down from a gallop to a sway as the song enters the home stretch, adding yet more delicious contrast to the mix.
And then there are tracks like “Hal,” which begins with an impish gait set against patient sax lines and cymbal washes, but then transforms into a tumultuous storm of competing sounds. Eventually it returns to its opening posture, and further cements the shift in attitude from last recording to the current one.
A spirited recording, and one well worth checking out.
Released on the Playing With Music label.
Jazz from the Stockholm, Sweden scene.
And don’t forget to check out that 2011 release Let You In, which you can stream some tracks on their soundcloud page HERE.