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Album Review

Young Swedish tenor saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar joined forces with the Norrbotten Big Band to explore seven of his original works, plus one by pianist Torbjörn Gulz. Starting with the intense post-bop cooker "Snake City East," it is apparent that Kullhammar is a gifted writer and promising saxophonist, backed by a fine rhythm section. Introducing "Frippes Blues" on his unaccompanied horn, Kullhammar is soon joined by the full band for this percolating, catchy number, which also showcases a choice solo by trombonist Peter Dahlgren. "Ruskitoonies McAroonies" is a whimsical, funky vehicle that one could easily imagine being recorded by a small group for Blue Note during the early '60s. The only throwaway track is the somewhat pedestrian "Bebopalulia," which must have been recorded at the end of the session for a few laughs, though it eventually breaks free from its hokey vamp and descends into cacophony, before reverting to a silly vocal by the band. In any case, Jonas Kullhammar is a force to be reckoned with and deserves high praise for this generally laudable effort.

Snake City North, Jonas Kullhammar Quartet
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