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Love Is Real

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Album Review

Guitarist Ulf Wakenius is known for his recordings as a sideman with both Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, but this session is a bit different from his earlier efforts as a leader. Focusing exclusively on the compositions of the late Esbjörn Svensson, Wakenius is removed from typical bop/post-bop settings. Joined by bassist Lars Danielsson (who doubles on cello), pianist Lars Jansson, and drummer Morten Lund, plus guests including the Radio String Quartet Vienna, trumpeters Till Brönner and Paolo Fresu, trombonist Nils Landgren, and guitarist Eric Wakenius, the leader does a remarkable job putting his own stamp on the music of his late countryman. The tense "Dodge the Dodo" gives Wakenius room to show off some Gyspy-like chops on acoustic guitar, though in a setting that blends elements of rock and modern jazz, with Eric Wakenius wrapping the piece with a piercing electric guitar solo. The gentle ballad "Believe, Beleft, Below (Love Is Real)" has a country air, while "Eighthundred Streets by Feet" incorporates classical guitar and elements of tango. Fans of E.S.T. will enjoy this tribute to the late Esbjörn Svensson.

Love Is Real, Ulf Wakenius
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