Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren caught the tail end of West Coast jazz. At age 29 in 1995, Lundgren was recommended to producer Dick Bank by saxophonist Herb Geller, who had moved to Hamburg, Germany, in 1962 and met Lundgren while touring in Sweden in 1994.
Bank was preparing to record an album of Lester Young's music with tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins. A pianist was needed who was solid, intuitive and had the chops and sensitivity to play with the flavor of Count Basie and Teddy Wilson. Since Perkins had had surgery a short time earlier, the pianist also needed to be spot-on—inspiring Perk while not tiring him out by dragging things down on the session. Lundgren was perfect.
Lundgren flew to Los Angeles from Stockholm, and they recorded Perk Plays Prez
for Fresh Sound in June 1995. Between 1995 and 2001, 10 albums in all wre recorded by Lundren for the label, several of them featuring West Coast jazz musicians in their twilight years. This album list included Perk Plays Prez
, Portrait of a Count
with trumpeter Conte Candoli, pianist Pete Jolly on Collaboration
and saxophonist Herb Geller on You're Looking at Me
. There also was series of Lundgren trio albums recorded.
Now Fresh Sound has released Jan Lundgren: A Retrospective
, a sampler featuring 12 tracks from the albums Lundgren recorded for the label in L.A. Among the highlights are Shorty George,
from Perk Plays Prez
, Rockin' Chair
and On Green Dolphin Street
from Portrait of a Count, I've Never Been in Love Before
and You Stepped Out of a Dream
with co-keyboardist Pete Jolly, and a sterling Angel Eyes
(with Lundgren, Tom Warrington on bass and Joe La Barbera on drums) and Swedish Pastra (with Lundgren, bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Paul Kreibich).
Loving liner notes for this set are by Doug Ramsey, producer Dick Bank and Jan Lundgren.
JazzWax tracks: You'll find Jan Lundgren: A Retrospective here
JazzWax clips: Here's Jan Lundgren playing Angel Eyes.